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Friday Harbor could soon have a new sister city — Shetland Islands, Scotland
Friday Harbor could soon have a new sister city — Shetland Islands, Scotland.
A visit from Mark Burgess, a member of the Scalloway Community Council in the Shetland Islands, sparked a correspondence between Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher and Alexander J. Cluness, convener of the Shetland Islands Council (convenor is the equivalent of mayor). That led to an exchange of information about their respective communities, and now Lacher's formal invitation to establish a sister city relationship.
Friday Harbor is not a member of Sister Cities International, but it has independent sister city relationships with Terschelling, Netherlands; and Korcula Island, Croatia. The establishment of a sister city relationship between Friday Harbor and Korcula was followed by a visit of an unofficial delegation of Friday Harbor residents.
"It's an opportunity to build bridges," Lacher said. "It's an opportunity to learn more about their special challenges, and learn new ways and new strategies" of handling similar issues.
Shetland Islands also depends on tourism, and Lacher said Friday Harbor might benefit from an exchange of ideas and information. "They have a flag. Can you imagine if the town had a flag?," Lacher said.
With her March 4 letter to Cluness, Lacher sent the book "Images of the San Juan Islands" by local photographer Mark Gardner and other materials which showcase the natural beauty of Friday Harbor and the San Juan archipelago.
"The continual goal of the relationships is to seek a wider understanding of each other’s traditions, promote the San Juan Islands, and where appropriate, assist each other in fostering economic development and tourism," Lacher wrote of its sister city relationships.
"As our relationship grows, we would like to learn about your archipelago. Specifically, we are interested in how your local government operates its infrastructure, and handles land use and development issues. Any information on these topics would be stimulating to us and we would enjoy an exchange in ideas on topics of mutual concern."