According to its annual report, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has supported over 2,400 projects in 2020/21 with $71.2-million distributed among them.
CBT officials said the company’s revenues grew to $88.2-million with the help of increased performance at its hydroelectric facilities.
“We’re thankful the Trust had the resources to support Basin communities during an extraordinarily difficult time,” said Johnny Strilaeff, CBT President and CEO. “We commend the resiliency of all the dedicated residents, organizations and communities during this unprecedented public health crisis. As the pandemic has evolved and put challenges in front of all of us, we’ve navigated it together, as a region. This has made us truly appreciate the strength and power of a region coming together.”
Throughout the year, the Trust provided funding to support First Nations, Metis associations, food banks, local farmers’ markets, food recovery programs, community social service agencies, child care operators, housing societies and hospices across the region.
Strilaeff said the challenge presented to CBT was balancing immediate supports while not losing sight of the organization’s long-term goals.
“In the short term, we’ve had to work very quickly and collaboratively with community organizations, food banks, social service agencies, affordable housing societies and other organizations like that to make sure they have the resources they needed to continue to provide support some of the most vulnerable in our communities. At the same time, we needed to still be looking into the longer term at matters of core importance to our region, so things like affordable housing, child care and broadband,” said Strilaeff.
In the East Kootenay, some particular projects in the spotlight were in a new area for CBT with local food access and recovery.
“When I think of the East Kootenay region, I think of some really terrific projects in support of the Rocky Mountain Metis for the development of a community garden. Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. installed a commercial kitchen alongside a new commercial space. Meanwhile, Wildsight opened an expanded community garden and a really novel and interesting tool lending program,” said Strilaeff. “Those stand out for me because they’re new and certainly have an ongoing benefit beyond the COVID situation and something that other parts of the region can certainly benefit by learning from”
Going forward, Strilaeff said the Trust needs to keep its efforts on staying nimble and flexible.
“We still don’t know what the COVID experience is going to be over the coming weeks and months. Many of us hoped, perhaps naively, that it would be behind us by now. It is really important that the Trust continues to adapt how we support what’s required in communities in the face of public health issues,” said Strilaeff.
The public is invited to attend CBT’s Annual General Meeting to learn more about the Trust and its past and future efforts. The meeting will be online on September 24th, a registration link can be found below.
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