03/14/2012 03:47 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 05:12 EDT

B.C. fundraisers rethink Japan rebuild plan

Residents of Nelson, B.C., who raised $40,000 for the Japanese town of Onagawa, devastated by last year's tsunami, are rethinking their plans for the money due to a lack of reconstruction in the area.

The 2011 tsunami killed 571 people in Onagawa, in the Miyagi Prefecture, where waters reached a height of 18 metres, according to the U.S. National Geophysical Data Centre.

Nelson has a special relationship with Onagawa that dates back to the Second World War but there has been very little rebuilding in the coastal town following the absolute destruction wrought by the tsunami.

John Craig, who lives in Nelson and often visits Japan, says the money raised should be used to strengthen the relationship.

"Almost like a tiny embassy. A place where people can get the Nelson connection on almost a daily basis, through information, through perhaps an individual who would be dispatched there. Because what people there need is new ideas."

Craig plans to visit Onagawa this spring and determine where the donated money can best be used.