Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) is reporting a revenue increase of $11 million from the previous fiscal year.
Power projects, private investments and an upward trend in market securities brought in total revenues of $59 million in 2016/17, according to the Trust’s annual service plan report released on Aug. 24.
“All three performed at or above targets resulting in the increased revenues,” states the organization’s board. “This allowed the Trust to increase the benefits it delivers to the region, up from the $31 million it delivered the previous year.”
Nearly $39 million was disbursed across the Basin, in programs and services ranging from affordable housing, agriculture and arts to early childhood programs, economic development and the environment.
“Through community consultations, we set out 13 strategic priorities for 2016 to 2020 to support Basin priorities,” stated Johnny Strilaeff, Trust president and chief executive officer.
“We made significant progress in several of our priority areas including developing strategic frameworks for affordable housing, agriculture, broadband and economic development, and launching two new programs, the Energy Retrofit Program and Built Heritage Grants.”
The Trust also invested $10 million in new business loans and commercial properties.
One of the more local commercial investments was the Trust’s $1.5 million purchase of a high tech facility in the Waneta Industrial Area. The former 5NPlus building stood vacant for years and is now home to i4C Innovation Centre, a high-tech hub for “Metal Tech Alley,” a program that reaches out to global industries so investors know about the region’s close proximity to a mining giant as well as the area’s assets such as affordability and mountain lifestyle.
Another priority was launched earlier this year – this one falls under the Renewable and Alternative Energy category – with a $2 million Energy Retrofit Program in partnership with BC Housing and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association.
Thirty three units in Silver City Gardens and 35 Jubilee Manor units will benefit from an influx of $31,500 and $24,200 respectively, as will 24 units at Beaver Valley Lodge with $9,000 being directed into improved energy efficiency.
Other million dollar investments targeted cultural heritage, literacy for all ages and a sundry of social projects.
A new three-year $6.8 million partnership was created with Heritage BC to implement the The Built Heritage Grants program to support the preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of heritage assets.
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy was given $1 million over two years to continue serving 77 basin communities with diverse literacy programs, and $6.2 million was invested into various environment, social and recreation infrastructure granting programs.
“Our increased revenues allow us to increase our programs and investments to help offer a wider range of benefits to Basin communities and residents, and that’s great news,” Strilaeff said.
”The Trust is well-positioned to continue to deliver on its mandate of helping residents strengthen the region’s social, economic and environmental well-being.”
Communities are invited to join the Trust’s staff and board of directors at the Annual General Meeting slated for Sept. 22 from 4-5 p.m. in the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre.
The public is also invited to attend a community barbecue at the Salmo Ski Hill beginning at 6 p.m.
Read more about the Trust’s performance in its 2016/17 Annual Service Plan Report at ourtrust.org/annualreport2017.
The Trust has two operating subsidiaries: Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) and Columbia Basin Development Corporation (CBDC). CBBC works with Basin communities and rural areas to improve high-speed connectivity through a region-wide fibre optic cable network. The Trust formed CBDC in 2016 to lead and support efforts to advance economic growth, job creation, innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities in the Basin.
The Trust also has eight wholly owned holding companies that hold investment interests. Those include: CBT Commercial Finance Corp., business loans and investments; CBT Real Estate Investment Corp., real estate interests; CBT Property Corp., a subsidiary that holds interests in corporate real estate; and CBT Energy Inc., (CBTE) the main Trust subsidiary related to power projects.
Further, CBTE holds interests in the Arrow Lakes Generating Station and Brilliant Expansion joint ventures with Columbia Power and the CBT Waneta Expansion Power Corp., a subsidiary that holds interests in the limited and general partnership formed to complete the Waneta Expansion Project.
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.