Columbia Basin Trust has provided $97.3-million to fund programs, initiatives and capital investments in communities across the basin, according to its 2019/20 Annual Report.

CBT said the report includes $68.6-million in grants, $12.2-million in capital projects to support economic development and broadband infrastructure, $9.2-million in business loans and $7.3-million in real estate and commercial investments.

Revenues from jointly owned hydroelectric facilities in the West Kootenay along with investments in real estate and business loans increased to $85.4-million. CBT said the revenues helped it address the 13 priorities outlined in its Columbia Basin Management Plan, which guided the Trust’s efforts through the year with 2,157 projects.

“Working with partners and communities, we’ve kept moving forward on the things that the people in the Basin have told us matters to them including affordable housing, childcare and the environment,” said Johnny Strilaeff, CBT President and CEO. “We are grateful for their vision, support and collaboration over the last 25 years and are deeply appreciative of how we have been able to grow and evolve as we worked together to serve the people and communities in the region.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, CBT has shifted its focus to develop a short-term strategic plan, which is still under development.

“Now, as we continue to adapt to the public health challenges of COVID-19, we are looking ahead and asking residents what’s most important to them over the next 18 to 24 months, what matters most to their family, what matters most in their community, and how can we work together to address those priorities,” explained Strilaeff.

Residents have until Friday, September 11th to provide feedback online or over the phone at 1-800-505-8998. The Trust said the finalized version of its short-term strategic plan should be released later this month.

“The past six months have been difficult for communities and residents, but it has also shown how strong and resilient we are as a region,” said Strilaeff. “As an organization, there have been valuable learnings for our staff and Board about how we work with communities in ways that are most meaningful for them. We are looking forward to hearing from residents and incorporating their feedback to develop a short-term plan that is relevant and purposeful as we continue to navigate a challenging and evolving situation together.”

The full annual report can be found here.

Infographic summarizing the CBT 2019/20 Annual Report. (Supplied by the Columbia Basin Trust)