Columbia Basin Trust exists to support the efforts of the people of the Columbia Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being.
We take our lead from the people of the Basin and in 2015, 13 priorities were developed to guide how the Trust would focus its efforts for the next five years. Read the Columbia Basin Management Plan Strategic Priorities.
From 2016 to 2020 we worked on the following priorities (listed in alphabetical order), while continuing to respond to emerging issues in the region and pursuing our existing work in social, economic, environment and youth initiatives.
While the priorities are broad, ambitious and long-term, we took specific, concrete steps toward addressing each one: view the priorities below for highlights of our activities and progress to date.
View this infographic of all that we have accomplished together.
Residents have access to affordable housing that meets their basic needs.
- Over 1,000 affordable rental housing units upgraded through the Housing Initiative and Energy Retrofit Program.
- We have contributed $29 million over three years to create affordable housing units, attracting $123 million in additional funding to the Basin.
- We have allocated $5.5 million over three years to support First Nations communities to enhance and increase affordable housing with a target to create 30 affordable housing units, increase First Nations asset management capacity and complete necessary repairs and energy retrofits.
- We committed $3.2 million to the Kootenay Street Village project to create up to 25 units of affordable rental housing with supports for seniors.
- We held housing workshops, attended by over 100 individuals/organizations, in summer 2018 about affordable housing development and funding opportunities.
- See more about our work in Housing.
Agricultural production is fostered and residents have access to healthy food.
- The Basin Business Advisors program supports a full-time Agriculture Specialist who works one-on-one with primary producers.
- We partnered with three regional districts to offer regional technical extension services through the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors, accessed by 549 producers, 61 of which have received one-on-one business development support.
- We partnered with the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets to develop a Basin Farmers’ Market Trail, host its annual conference in the Basin in 2018 and expand its Nutrition Coupon Program to eight new markets in the Basin, reduce wait lists at 10 others and benefit an additional 330 families.
- We hosted a Basin Agriculture Forum in March 2018 with a focus on market development. In November of 2018 and 2019 we hosted the Basin Food & Buyers Expo to bring together producers, processors, purchasers and distributors to build relationships and increase sales; 550 agriculture stakeholders were brought together through these three events.
- Working with the Ministry of Agriculture, we completed a feasibility study for a local agriculture innovation center and hub model to determine what our region needs in terms of agricultural innovation and supporting scaling-up production of products and processes.
- We partnered with a provincial organization, Young Agrarians, to support young agriculture entrepreneurs to start, maintain and assess the succession of agriculture businesses. In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, we supported a Basin Land Matcher to screen farmland opportunities and farmers ready to start farm businesses, facilitate matches, and develop legal contracts between parties.
- We are supporting the Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program with funding of $1.8 million over three years.
- Wave Point Consulting Ltd. completed an analysis of the distribution and logistics infrastructure supporting the agricultural sector in the Columbia Basin. Read this report here.
- See more about our work in Agriculture.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
The history and culture of the Basin is celebrated by vibrant arts, culture and heritage.
- We committed $6.1 million to a three-year partnership with Heritage BC to provide a heritage professional in the region and launch the Built Heritage Grants program, preserving 88 built heritage assets.
- We committed $1 million over three years for Heritage, Museum and Archive Grants, also through Heritage BC, to support projects specific to current needs in the sector, including planning, conservation, exhibits, collections and community engagement.
- We launched Arts and Culture Venue Grants in 2017 and committed $3 million to the program over two years. The program supported 29 projects that make improvements to existing or create new arts and cultural facilities/spaces.
- We launched Public Art Grants in Spring 2018 and committed $400,000 in funding to date. The program supported 27 projects which included the acquisition and installation of original works of art by Basin artists in public spaces in Basin communities.
- We have provided $750,000 annually to Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance to deliver grant writing workshops, organize and promote the Basin Culture Tour and support approximately 600 projects in the Basin.
- We acquired the Creston grain elevators in 2018, unique heritage assets of their kind. Currently, we are working towards their repair and restoration.
- See more about our work in Arts and Culture and Heritage.
High-speed Internet connectivity is available throughout the region.
- $16.56 million commitment to Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) in the past three years, extending the network from 70 km to 895 km as of 2019 and connecting 34 Basin communities.
- We completed the Connecting Canadians Program, working with 13 rural Internet service providers to support their infrastructure upgrades and extend improved service to over 12,000 households in the Basin-Boundary region.
- Working together with the Province and the Connecting BC Program, we completed the Kootenay Lake fibre project to place a submarine optical fibre cable in the lake to connect Balfour and Kaslo, and communities in between, to increase broadband access in the area. We are also undergoing two expansion projects to our network through the Connecting BC Program to connect Nakusp through Slocan Valley and Jaffray to Roosville by 2021.
- We are improving Internet access for Basin residents and exploring opportunities to continue to expand our regional broadband network.
- See more about our work in Broadband.
Communities (geographic or communities of interest) work together to identify and address their priorities.
- We are proactively engaging with communities to help them identify opportunities and challenges, as well as roles the Trust can play to support communities.
- We support projects that emerge as community priorities through the Community Development Program (CDP) including over $19.6 million committed to support 350 projects through this program since 2016.
- We provided $4.65 million for the Basin Youth Network to support activities and diverse opportunities for youth aged 12 to 18 through 28 community youth networks around the Basin based on local priorities.
- We created and launched the Community Outdoor Revitalization program to strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Basin communities by creating welcoming, safe and vibrant public spaces that support community gathering. Since beginning in 2019, 25 projects have received $5M in support.
- We launched the Community Technology Program in 2019 to increase digital literacy and connection of Basin residents including creating 25 publicly accessible, barrier-free technology centres in libraries and community centres across the Basin.
- See more about our work with Communities.
Early Childhood and Childhood Development
Children have access to resources that support healthy growth and development.
- We launched the Child Care Support Program in September 2017 providing capital grants to improve over 2,000 existing child care spaces and 436 new ones, supporting 115 Early Childhood Educators and supporting 101 child care providers with common business challenges through the Child Care Support Advisor.
- Over the past five years, improvements to the quality and safety of child care spaces have also been supported through our Social Grants
- From 2017 – 2019, we supported Basin Early Years Community Tables, which coordinate and develop local resources to support young children’s healthy development and the needs of their families.
- We sponsored the Early Years Professional Development Conference annually for educators in the Basin.
A diverse and resilient economy is supported by strong businesses, a trained workforce and sufficient job opportunities.
- We are implementing a framework that will guide our activities to 2020, and allocated $20 million to this priority.
- We acquired an industrial building in the Metal Tech Alley, near Trail, to be a catalyst for innovative commercial use of the space in 2017. Eight businesses are now located in the building. 14 jobs created through Metal Tech Alley.
- We launched the $2-million Impact Investment Fund (IIF) and allocated an additional $1-million to it in September 2018, creating 115 jobs and assisted two companies in increasing annual revenues.
- A Request for Expressions of Interest was issued in February 2018 to seek business opportunities for the Trust to partner on that will result in job creation and economic growth in the region.The Basin Business Rev-up Program was announced in September 2018 to support businesses that are positioned for significant growth resulting in 16 new jobs.
- The Trust now has five wage subsidy streams to support job creation for students and new graduates: School Works, Apprenticeships, Co-op Placements, Summer Works and Career Internship Program. We’ve supported the creation of 1,000 student jobs and supported 33 Level 1 apprentice jobs.
- The Basin Business Advisors (BBA) Program with the Agriculture Specialist Advisor, and the Training Fee Support Program also continue to support businesses and workforce development, with renewed focus on increasing impact. BBA has served over 900 business clients. The Training Fee Support Program has supported 1,734 individuals.
Healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems support ecological and human needs.
- We have contributed $6 million to the Ecosystem Enhancement Program.
- Our three-year Climate Action Program has helped 25 communities initiate and implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
- The Community Wildfire Program launched in spring 2019 providing $1.25 million in funding and supported 41 communities for wildfire mitigation and public education projects.
- Our Environment Grants program has supported 180 projects since 2016/17.
- We are continuing to support work in this sector through our Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program, Invasive Species Partnership, Land Conservation and Stewardship Initiative, Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Program and support of region-wide Environmental Education, which benefits over 10,000 students each year.
- We supported work in this sector through the Environment Strategic Plan 2014 to 2020: Download this plan in pdf format.
- See more about our work in Environment.
First Nations Relationships
- We have prioritized funding to First Nations led projects across all Trust programs.
- Provided multi-year funding to First Nations communities to develop and deliver programs that respond to specific community needs. We are continuing to provide cultural literacy sessions for our staff and Board.
- We have worked with various Indigenous and non-Indigenous advisors on a variety of issues and topics related to Indigenous engagement and have developed a Framework for Working with Indigenous Peoples.
Key parcels of land are acquired to advance a variety of community and regional priorities.
- Since 1998 the Trust has helped land trusts preserve 113,000 hectares of private land through covenants and purchases for ecological values.
- We are evaluating regional land conservation achievements to date and identifying options for supporting land conservation in the future.
- We have launched a Land Acquisition Grants Program to help local governments, First Nations communities and non-profit organizations acquire land and buildings.
- We supported the Regional District of Central Kootenay in acquiring 21.6 hectares of land to expand Cottonwood Lake Regional Park for enhanced recreation opportunities and 70 hectares of land for a new regional park in Crawford Bay.
- We purchased the Creston grain elevators for heritage conservation and future community use.
- We continue to support stewardship activities on previously acquired land (through Environment).
Non-profits have strong organizational foundations and offer services to address community priorities.
- We offer a Non-Profit Advisors program that has connected more than 235 non-profits with an Advisor and provided assessments to increase organizational effectiveness.
- We provided more than 188 grants for non-profits to receive consultant support to build organizational capacity through the Non-profit Advisors Program.
- We have developed online learning modules and resources to help non-profits strengthen their operations and have provided 58 workshops around the region to help improve board development, financial management, marketing and communications, operations and grant writing.
- We supported Basin non-profits with the transition to the requirements of the new Societies Act.
- We offered a Non-profit Tech Grants program in 2017 which helped 137 non-profits update their office technology such as computers, printers and servers for purposes of improved efficiency and organizational sustainability and increased capacity to fulfill their mandate.
- We supported 13 Community Foundations to build organizational capacity, as well as an investment option that offers financial security.
Recreation and Physical Activity
Recreation infrastructure and physical activity opportunities enable healthy lifestyles.
- We have completed our Recreation Infrastructure Grants( RIG) program, which has provided $9.4 million over three years, supporting 153 projects and upgrading or building 350 km of trail, 53 outdoor facilities, and 15 indoor facilities within 42 Basin communities.
- We launched the Basin Physical Literacy and Youth Sports (PLAYS) Initiative to support youth sport and physical literacy at a community level and in a school-based setting. This initiative has contributed over $800,000 to 59 capital improvement projects, supported 78 Basin schools to deliver new physical literacy plans and supported Basin coaches and officials to receive accreditation with over 88 training grants.
- We launched a user-friendly online resource for organizations to easily share their sport and physical activities for children and youth in Basin communities with parents who are looking for local programming and events.
- Trail Enhancement Grants were developed to support the construction and maintenance of recreational infrastructure in the Basin and provided nearly $1 million in funding for 53 trail development, rehabilitation and enhancement projects.
- A three-year partnership with Recreation Sites and Trails British Columbia is in place for recreation site maintenance via summer youth crews in the Basin.
- We convened representatives of 70 diverse of trail user groups from around the Basin to connect, collaborate, build capacity and share information on local and regional trail initiatives. We are providing asset management templates to eight trail user groups and GIS mapping opportunities.
Renewable and Alternative Energy
Renewable and alternative energy generation and conservation opportunities are supported and realized.
- We launched the Energy Retrofit Program to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in non-profit housing (as included under Affordable Housing).
- We partnered in the Accelerate Kootenays electric vehicle (EV) charging station network ($600,000) so EV travel to and within the region is convenient and reliable. The 53 charging stations within the EV network create over 1,870 km of connected EV travel.
- We engaged with more than 150 builders, residents and realtors in East Kootenay communities through a Community Energy Manager to reduce energy consumption in the region in order to reduce environmental impacts and energy expenditures.
- Fourty-four community purpose buildings were improved with $1.5 million invested through a new Energy Sustainability Grants Program.