The completed Waneta Expansion Project will help double the Columbia Basin Trust's revenues in the next few years.

Trust expects to double revenues

The Columbia Basin Trust is expecting to nearly double its revenues in the next few years thanks to its investment in power projects.

The Columbia Basin Trust is expecting to nearly double its revenues in the next few years.

The increase comes as the result of the CBT’s investment in a number of power projects. The Waneta Expansion Project is coming online and the CBT has also renewed a power purchase agreement for the Arrow Lakes dam with BC Hydro.

“In the next couple of years we’ll be increasing our revenues to about $55 million, for the foreseeable future, per year,” said Delphi Hoodicoff, director of communications for the CBT.

Power purchase agreements for the CBT’s power projects are longterm, so the trust can be reasonably certain of its revenues for the next few years.

In response to the expected increase in revenue, CBT approached communities about how the trust could better its services.

“Over the past year the Our Trust, Our Future engagement process went underway across the region,” said Hoodicoff.

The result of that community engagement is the Renewed Strategic Priorities document, which the trust released this week.

“That document is for 2016 to 2020, and it talks about 13 strategic priorities that residents want us to focus on. It also talks about the ways in which we’re going to support residents, the tools or the methods we’ll be using,” explained Hoodicoff.

One of the trust’s new tools is to explore forms of investment that may not have a high financial reward, but that provide a community benefit, such as job creation.

“This could be a no interest or low interest loan for example,” said Hoodicoff.

Many of the priorities respond to a request from residents to take on issues that can’t be addressed through grants, like affordable housing, economic development and early childhood development.

“Over the next few years what you’re going to be seeing is a shift in our organization where grants will remain as they are, but we’re going to start putting more energy and effort into these broader initiatives of strategic priorities and really trying to make a difference for the communities and the region as a whole in tackling these issues,” said Hoodicoff.

Those who were part of the Our Trust, Our Future engagement and want to find out what the CBT decided are invited to attend open houses at the trust’s offices.

The open house in Nakusp will be Thursday, Oct. 29 from 11 a.m. to 2p.m., and the one in Castlegar will be Friday, Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For those who can’t attend there will also be an online webinar and they can register at cbt.org/openhouse.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser the week of Thursday, October 8.