A small delegation from the City of Cold Lake will be visiting Cold Lake’s sister city of Hügelsheim, Germany later this week. Mayor Craig Copeland, councillor Bob Mattice, and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Nagoya will represent Cold Lake on the visit.
Hügelsheim was the site of Canadian Forces Base Baden-Söllingen, which was established as an RCAF station in 1953 and finally closed down in 1993. Many Air Force personnel served at Baden and in Cold Lake at various times during their careers.
As a result, there are family connections between the two communities—Canadians who met and married Germans with the new families either settling in Germany or moving to Canada.
The sister-city relationship was one of the first things former Mayor Ray Coates told Copeland to keep going, Copeland said. “He emphasized that 4 Wing is part of Cold Lake and with the relationship with Baden-Baden back in the day—with the last squadron leaving that area and coming to Cold Lake—to keep that connection with our sister city.”
The visit will coincide with Hügelsheim’s famous asparagus festival, or Spargelfest, this coming weekend. The town is famous for its delicious, tender white asparagus, and visitors come from all over Europe to celebrate the harvest.
Copeland said the celebrations include a street festival that acts as a fundraiser for local organizations, which offers an opportunity to meet and talk with many local people.
The Cold Lake delegation will bring cans of a commemorative beer brewed by Cold Lake Brewing and Distilling, and sample packages of Hamel’s beef jerky. These will be served to locals during the festival.
The city will cover airfare and five days’ per diem expenses for the three representatives, at a cost of approximately $10,000, Copeland said. The group intends to travel to Juno Beach, the site of the Canadian D-Day landings, after the Hügelsheim visit. That part of the trip will be at their own expense.
Copeland says the hospitality afforded by the German hosts reflects the genuine and enduring friendship between the two communities. There is talk of Cold Lake receiving a delegation from Hügelsheim in November, in time for Remembrance Day.
“I think you can’t ignore the relationships,” Copeland said. “When you’re an elected official, my advice to anybody is that for the mayor and council to make at least one visit per four-year term is adequate. If you can go every two years, great.”