Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) will be ringing in 2020 by celebrating its 25th year of funding community initiatives and projects while looking ahead to what the future has in store.
Since it formed in 1995, Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO of CBT said a lot has changed in the communities the Trust works within.
“It’s really extraordinary, we can look at some communities and there are obvious physical changes that we see how communities have grown – how the number of residents has grown quite significantly in some areas. I think probably most significant, it’s how values have evolved, and in some cases evolved due to influences outside of our control,” said Strilaeff. “We see physical changes in the community and the environment we live in, but I think in equal importance, perhaps grater, is how values and perspectives and some of these other global influences impact how it is we approach prioritizing what’s important in our communities.”
Strilaeff added that despite a lot of changes within the various communities in the region through its 25 years, the main goal of Columbia Basin Trust has largely remained the same.
“It’s this idea of creating a legacy of social, economic, and environmental well-being in the region. Those core principals really haven’t changed. I think what can sometimes evolve is the relative importance of different ways we can make that vision a reality.”
As 2019 draws to a close, Strilaeff said it was a busy and record-breaking year for CBT.
“The revenue that we earned was the highest in a single year since the time of our creation. We also delivered a record of about $63 million in benefits back to communities. We’ve done that through an expanding range of programs,” Strilaeff explained to MyEastKootenayNow.com. “It was an extraordinarily busy year, focusing on the work we do day to day, while at the same time starting the planning work for 2020, which will have significant community engagement focus.”
Strilaeff added that the Trust now has more than 70 active programs as of this year, which have completed more than 1,750 projects across the region.
For CBT, 2020 will be a year for gathering the public’s thoughts on what it should focus on next.
“25 years will be an opportunity to look back at how our region has changed and evolved over those 25 years. We also want to use it as an opportunity to be looking forward five, 10 and even 25 years into the future once again,” said Strilaeff. “We’re going out to communities in 2020, we’re going to use it as an opportunity to celebrate together in the first instance, but then we’re going to start looking forward and ask residents once again what’s important to you for the next 5, ten or 25 years in your communities, and how best the Trust can support your work to make those visions a reality.”
Columbia Basin Trist will spend the first part of the year consulting with the public, and in the fall, it will be hosting two symposia for the first time. One will be held in Trail from October 2 to 4 2020, and another in Golden from October 23rd to 25th.