Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has chosen focus on developing an 18 to 24-month short-term plan to help guide its actions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trust said that it will put its process to renew the Columbia Basin Management Plan on hold, including its public engagement and community meetings.

“Our legislated mandate is to support people and communities in the Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “To best address their needs, and to respond in meaningful ways to the challenges and opportunities in the Basin, we’re developing a short-term action plan to guide our activities.”

Over the coming months, CBT said it will reach out and seek feedback from its volunteer advisory committees, Indigenous leaders, local governments, partners and other organizations within the Basin. As well, it will seek input from residents in late August online on the themes, opportunities and potential actions it will take. Once this feedback is integrated, it said the Trust Board will consider the short-term plan in its September Board meeting.

“We are developing this plan with Basin residents within a relatively short timeframe. These are unprecedented circumstances and we need to adapt while being responsive and flexible,” said Strilaeff. “By moving quickly to develop a short-term plan with input from the region, the Trust will be able to take action to help the Basin move forward.”

CBT said that it intends to undertake a more fulsome engagement process to renew its Columbia Basin Management Plan Strategic Priorities in late 2021 or early 2022.