Delegates from the Town of Sugito, Japan visited the City of Busselton this week to help mark 21 years since the start of the sister city friendship.
Under the shade of a 21 year old Japanese elm tree on the grounds of the city’s administration building mayor Grant Henley and Sugito deputy mayor Naoto Sakata unveiled a restored plaque commemorating the cities friendship.
Mr Henley said the elm tree was planted as a small seedling in February 1997 to mark the start of the sister city friendship.
He said the seedling was planted by the former mayor of Sugito Ishichi Ogawa and the then shire president Beryle Morgan during a visit from Sugito officials to countersign the sister city agreement between the two cities.
“A commemorative plaque was installed at the base of the tree soon afterwards,” he said.
"Over the years that small sapling grew into a strong and established tree in much the same way that our sister city friendship has grown
“In recent years the plaque dulled, became overgrown with shrubs and almost obscured from public view.
“The new Civic and Administration Building and landscaping work provided the opportunity to restore the plaque and reposition it more prominently.”
Mr Henley said the visit was a great opportunity to discuss with the special delegation the future direction of the city’s relationship and introduce Mr Sakata to the region.
”We were especially delighted to take our visitors on a tour of the Busselton Margaret River Airport which is undergoing a $70 million upgrade,” he said.
“We hope this new facility, once complete, will bring us even greater connectivity in the future.”