The Columbia Basin Trust hosted an open house on Friday at its Castlegar office to invite the public to learn about its new strategic priorities.
The 13 new priorities are the result of an extensive public engagement process.
“The open house today is a touch point with all residents who are interested to learn the outcomes of the year-long engagement process that we undertook … and to show folks what we decided are going to be the strategic priorities for the coming five years,” said Delphie Hoodicoff, director of communications for the CBT.
The trust has already held three other open houses throughout the Basin, in Cranbrook, Golden, and Nakusp.
“The folks that are coming to these open houses are folks that are engaged in their communities, and are learning about how the trust can support them going forward,” said Neil Muth, president and CEO of the CBT. “It’s been very positive in terms of the discussions that I’ve had with individuals here. People just wanting to know where the trust is going in our support for them over the next five years.”
Many of those who were present at the open house were there to learn about new opportunities to partner with the CBT.
“I’m just trying to find out more about their priorities and how we can work together,” said Ann Jensen, contract and partnership agent for the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. “I get a lot of inquiries regarding funding, so a lot of our funding is with partnerships in the community, so that’s why I’m kind of attending here to find out how we can develop more partnerships and work to help communities in need.”
“To see early childhood and early childhood development on [the list of priorities] is really important for us,” said Christy Anderson, regional coordinator for Family Action Network, “because we know that all the investment that you make early on has so many benefits as you continue on that life course, so it’s great to see that they’re looking at that area.”
Four priorities that came up consistently across the Basin were economic development, affordable housing, agriculture, and the environment.
One priority in particular stood out in Castlegar.
“Within Castlegar … economic development was one of the strong themes that we heard here,” said Muth.
Now that the CBT’s strategic priorities have been established, the trust will move forward with implementation, which is already underway.
“We’ve announced two new programs, and that’s the impact investment fund, as well as the non-profit advisors program,” said Hoodicoff.
The trust is also moving forward with its work installing broadband in the Basin.
The CBT’s new strategic priorities are:Affordable housingAgricultureBroadbandCommunity prioritiesEarly childhood and childhood developmentEconomic developmentEnvironmentFirst Nations relationshipsLand acquisitionNon-profit supportRecreation and physical activityRenewable and alternative energy
Those who couldn’t attend the open house can contribute ideas or find out more by contacting the CBT on their website, cbt.org.