Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin.
We take our lead from residents and communities. Whatever the situation calls for, we adapt our role: from providing resources, to bringing people together, to leading an entire initiative. The Trust is here to offer experience and support to all Basin residents.
While our range of services, programs, initiatives and financial investments is extensive, our purpose is straightforward: we exist and act for the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Basin—now and for generations to come.
The Trust is mandated under the Columbia Basin Trust Act to manage our assets for the ongoing economic, environmental and social benefit of the region, without relieving governments of any obligations in the region. We are also mandated under the Columbia Basin Management Plan to include the people of the Basin in planning for the management of the assets and to work with others to coordinate activities related to the purpose of the Trust.
The Trust supports efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being and to achieve greater self-sufficiency for present and future generations.
The Trust will work toward a long-term vision for the future of the Basin, where:
- the Basin is a place where social, economic and environmental well-being is fostered.
- collaborative relationships and partnerships are established across the Basin, communities work together in a spirit of mutual support and respect for each others’ differences, residents identify with a Basin culture and feel a sense of belonging to a Basin community, and residents are involved in community decision making.
- a healthy environment is the basis for social and economic activities, and residents are committed to long-term and enduring stewardship of the Basin’s natural resources.
- the economy of the Basin is diverse, resilient and energized; communities are responsive to both the needs of the present and the future; community enhancement initiatives are widely supported and residents share responsibility for their implementation; and practical and innovative investments in the Basin serve to increase the range of options for present and future generations.
The Trust will also be guided by a long-term vision of itself as a regional corporation, having:
- a successful portfolio of investments in the Basin that help stimulate the regional economy and provide a reliable stream of income for use in the Trust’s Delivery of Benefits activities.
- a proven track record of delivering social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin and its residents.
- well-established and productive working relationships with others in the Basin whose activities relate to the Trust’s mandate.
- consistent and widespread public support for the Trust’s activities, based on meaningful public input and the Trust’s responsiveness to the needs of the Basin and its people.
- Respect: The Trust treats people with respect, welcoming varied perspectives and viewpoints and honouring the history of the Basin and the origins of the organization.
- Accountability: The Trust is responsible for all of its actions and the results of those actions.
- Transparency: The Trust maintains a high level of openness, sharing meaningful and accurate information about its actions.
- Engagement: The Trust recognizes that active involvement in communities is critical to its overall success.
- Empowerment: The Trust helps others make their own choices on issues that affect their futures, and see those choices result in positive outcomes.
- Stewardship: The Trust manages all of its assets responsibly to ensure that both present and future generations of Basin residents benefit from those assets.
The Trust has two core functions:
- Invest capital and manage the assets of the Trust.
- Use the income earned from the Trust’s investments to deliver benefits to the Basin.
The Trust was created in 1995 to support efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the Canadian portion of the Columbia River Basin—the region most affected by the Columbia River Treaty (CRT).
During the creation of the CRT, Basin residents weren’t adequately consulted for their views, concerns or solutions. In the early 1990s, residents, local officials and representatives from regional districts and tribal councils joined together to coordinate efforts, forming the Columbia River Treaty Committee. Reflecting the desires of the people of the Basin, the committee approached the Province of BC and successfully negotiated:
- that funds be allocated to the region, representing a fair share of the ongoing benefits being realized outside of the Basin as a result of the CRT
- that a regional organization, governed by a board of Basin residents, be created to manage those funds.
A binding agreement was established resulting in the Province providing:
- $276 million to finance power project construction
- $45 million, which the Trust used as an endowment
- $2 million per year from 1995 to 2010 for operations.
The Trust is governed by the Columbia Basin Trust Act and our work is guided by the Columbia Basin Management Plan, which was developed in consultation with Columbia Basin residents in 1997. It has since evolved into two components:
Although the Trust was founded in 1995, the events that led to our formation began much earlier. Here’s a glimpse at our history: