Investments

We invest to generate a predictable, sustainable and appreciating income stream. We then use this money to deliver grants and programs in the Columbia Basin region, invest in local businesses and real estate and fund our corporate operating expenses.

Many of our investments also advance the social, economic and environmental well-being in the region. For example:

  • hydropower facilities create employment and fund environmental activities
  • Basin-based businesses benefit local economies
  • seniors living communities help provide local, innovative living options for Basin seniors.

In 1995, the Province of British Columbia endowed the Trust with $321 million: $276 million to invest in regional hydropower facilities and $45 million to invest otherwise. By carefully investing this money, we have increased the book value of our assets over the past 25 years to $2.1 billion, generating an annual return of about $90 million. These dollars are re-invested in local communities to support the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin.

What We Invest In

Brilliant Dam
Located approximately eight kilometres from Castlegar on the Kootenay River, the Brilliant Dam was bought from Teck (formerly Cominco) for $130 million and the Trust performed $100 million in improvements to extend its life and increase its capacity. It generates enough power to supply 100,000 homes.
Arrow Lakes Generating Station
Located 400 metres downstream from existing Hugh Keenleyside Dam on Arrow Lakes Reservoir near Castlegar, this $300-million project makes use of water that would otherwise be spilled. It generates enough power to supply 75,000 homes.
Brilliant Expansion
Located on the east bank of the Kootenay River downstream from Brilliant Dam, this $245-million project makes use of water that would otherwise be spilled. It generates enough power to supply 55,000 homes.
Waneta Expansion
Located immediately downstream of Waneta Dam on Pend d’Oreille River near Trail, this $900-million expansion was built in partnership with Fortis Inc. We purchased Fortis’ interest in the project in 2019. It generates enough power to supply 60,000 homes.

We invest in Basin businesses, always keeping in mind the principles of a prudent investor and the balance between risk and returns.

Commercial Loans and Investments

We invest directly in Basin-based businesses, including privately held corporations, non-profit organizations and social enterprises owned as non-profits.

Real Estate Investments

In addition to investing in commercial properties, we have partnered with local investors to own nine seniors living communities throughout the Basin. Operated by Golden Life Management, these facilities offer more than 955 living suites and a range of support services.

Castlegar
Castle Wood Village
Cranbrook
Joseph Creek Village

Cranbrook

Kootenay Street Village
Creston
Crest View Village
Fernie
Rocky Mountain Village
Fruitvale
Mountain Side Village
Invermere
Columbia Garden Village
Kimberley
Garden View Village
Nelson
Lake View Village

We also invest in market securities. Our portfolio is professionally managed and includes short-term deposits, equities and bonds.

How We Manage Our Investments

Our Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures governs how we manage our investments. It includes seven beliefs:

  1. We believe that future generations should benefit from the same level of support as current ones. That’s why we invest and spend in a way that considers the potential effects of inflation.
  2. Our priority is to invest in the Basin. This is a small region, however, so we also invest some of our money in market securities.
  3. We choose investments that adhere to high ethical and environmental standards and display strong corporate governance. These types of investments also perform well and are profitable.
  4. We are a prudent investor and make sure that the potential returns we receive reflect the amount of risk we assume.
  5. We recognize that managing risk is just as important as generating returns.
  6. Though we invest much of our money in hydropower facilities, we try to invest in a variety of opportunities.
  7. We value partnerships and, when possible, invest in co-operation with other organizations.