Columbia Basin Trust delivered a record $57 million in funding benefits and commercial investments to residents and communities in the Columbia Basin region, as released in its 2017/18 Annual Service Plan Report recently.
This included $2.7 million in capital investments related to broadband and economic development, $5.3 million in business loans and commercial properties and $49 million to support 1,600 projects and partnerships through 65 active programs and initiatives.
“Being able to deliver this many programs is a testament to how much effort Basin residents, organizations and communities put into making this region the best it can be,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we’re proud to be able to deliver such extensive support, we’re even more proud of how people in the Basin use this support to make a difference.”
Strilaeff says the Trust had a great fiscal year. “It was an exceptional year for the Trust. In terms of earnings from our investments, the highest that we have ever achieved, more than $64 million in revenue. That’s allowed us to expand the range of supports that we have available in the region.”
In 2017/18, the Trust earned $64 million in revenues—up from the previous year’s $59 million. This was primarily due to the solid performance of its investment in local hydropower facilities which account for 85% of the revenue. Other sources of revenue include business loans, real estate investments and market securities.
“Our continued strong fiscal performance is a result of carefully investing to ensure we generate a predictable, sustainable and growing income stream to support our delivery of benefits to the region,” Strilaeff said. “The performance of our power facilities exceeded our expectations, contributing to a boost in revenue.”
The Trust supports the ideas and efforts of people and communities in the Basin to strengthen the region’s social, economic and environmental well-being. Through extensive consultation, the Trust developed 13 strategic priorities for 2016-2020, and has made significant progress with many new programs and initiatives announced in 2017/18, including:
- $28-million partnership with BC Housing to create new affordable housing units over three years and $4.5 million to support First Nations communities with affordable housing over three years.
- $10-million Ecosystem Enhancement Program that will help maintain and improve ecosystem health and native biodiversity over five years.
- $3.6-million child care support program to maintain and create new child care spaces over three years.
- A fibre-optic link between Kaslo and Balfour to increase broadband capacity in the area through the deployment of a 36-kilometre underwater optical fibre cable in Kootenay Lake.
- Expanded support for arts, culture and heritage, with $11.6 million in programs and support over three years.
The CBT will hold its annual general meeting in Fernie Friday from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge.
Strilaeff says it’s a great chance for Basin residents to see what the Trust has been working on for the past year.
“Alongside our regularly scheduled board of directors meeting, we use it as an opportunity to invite residents to come learn a little bit more about Trust activity over the past year as part of our AGM.”
The AGM will be followed by a free, family-friendly community barbeque from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Fernie Community Centre that will also feature live, local music.
Visit ourtrust.org/ferniebbq for details.
Read more about the Trust’s fiscal performance in the 2017/18 Annual Service Plan Report at ourtrust.org/annualreport.
– Johnny Strilaeff – Columbia Basin Trust President and CEO
– Files from Columbia Basin Trust