Basin sees increased support from the Trust

A record $57 million in funding benefits & commercial investments given to residents and communities in the Columbia Basin area

Aerial view of valley with river meandering along valley bottom.

The Trust supports the ideas and efforts of people and communities in the Basin to strengthen the region’s social, economic and environmental well-being. — Photo courtesy Columbia Valley Trust

(Columbia Basin) – Columbia Basin Trust delivered a record $57 million in funding benefits and commercial investments to residents and communities in the Columbia Basin region, as released in its 2017/18 Annual Service Plan Report recently.

This included $2.7 million in capital investments related to broadband and economic development, $5.3 million in business loans and commercial properties and $49 million to support 1,600 projects and partnerships through 65 active programs and initiatives.

“Being able to deliver this many programs is a testament to how much effort Basin residents, organizations and communities put into making this region the best it can be,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we’re proud to be able to deliver such extensive support, we’re even more proud of how people in the Basin use this support to make a difference.”

In 2017/18, the Trust earned $64 million in revenues—up from the previous year’s $59 million. This was primarily due to the solid performance of its investment in local hydropower facilities which account for 85 per cent of the revenue. Other sources of revenue include business loans, real estate investments and market securities.

“Our continued strong fiscal performance is a result of carefully investing to ensure we generate a predictable, sustainable and growing income stream to support our delivery of benefits to the region,” Strilaeff said. “The performance of our power facilities exceeded our expectations, contributing to a boost in revenue.”

The Trust supports the ideas and efforts of people and communities in the Basin to strengthen the region’s social, economic and environmental well-being. Through extensive consultation, the Trust developed 13 strategic priorities for 2016-2020, and has made significant progress with many new programs and initiatives announced in 2017/18, including:

$28-million partnership with BC Housing to create new affordable housing units over three years and $4.5 million to support First Nations communities with affordable housing over three years.

  • $10-million Ecosystem Enhancement Program that will help maintain and improve ecosystem health and native biodiversity over five years.
  • $3.6-million child care support program to maintain and create new child care spaces over three years.
  • A fibre-optic link between Kaslo and Balfour to increase broadband capacity in the area through the deployment of a 36-kilometre underwater optical fibre cable in Kootenay Lake.
  • Expanded support for arts, culture and heritage, with $11.6 million in programs and support over three years.

Join staff and the Board of Directors at the Trust’s annual general meeting in Fernie on Friday, September 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. MT at the Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge. The AGM will be followed by a free, family-friendly community barbeque from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fernie Community Centre that will also feature live, local music. Visit ourtrust.org/ferniebbq for details.

Read more about the Trust’s fiscal performance in the 2017/18 Annual Service Plan Report at ourtrust.org/annualreport.

Learn more about the Trust’s progress on its strategic priorities at ourtrust.org/priorities.

Watch for Our Trust magazine in your mailbox this fall for stories of some of the projects the Trust supported, or sign up for the Trust’s monthly e-newsletter at ourtrust.org/newsletter.

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