Columbia Basin Trust CEO Johnny Strilaeff says engaging with the public will be a priority in 2019.
Castlegar News: What are the major issues facing the Columbia Basin Trust in 2019?
Strilaeff: We are witnessing a shift in demographics in many of our communities. Younger families are choosing to forego the big-city life in exchange for the lifestyle and cost of living we enjoy in our region. Technology is a key enabler of this shift. Many of these new families will continue in the same profession, often with the same employer, and can do so as a result of evolving technology.
The Trust is focused on supporting regional priorities that enhance our quality of life and make this region such a desirable place to live. Significant investments in affordable housing, broadband, recreation infrastructure, ecosystem enhancement, child care, and arts, culture and heritage are only a few examples of the work we are doing to support regional priorities.
We are entering the fourth year of our five-year Columbia Basin Management Plan. This plan sets out 13 primary strategic priorities and has shaped our new programming and initiatives since 2016. Last year, we delivered a record $57 million in benefits to our communities through 65 programs supporting 1,600 projects.
We will begin a new engagement process to connect with more basin residents to refresh the Columbia Basin Management Plan which expires in 2020. What will this plan look like? What are we hoping to achieve? What can we learn from the past that will inform how we work in the future? What do we want our region to look like five, 10, 15, even 20 years from now? These questions will form the basis of our discussions with residents in 2019-20.
CN: As a resident of Castlegar, what are your hopes and predictions for the city in 2019?
Strilaeff: I care deeply about my community and our region. I’m most encouraged by our elected officials, community activists, volunteers and engaged public who work hard to make our community an even better place to live. Communities are so much like people — they change and evolve over time. This change can happen without jeopardizing the core elements of our identity, and this is what I am seeing in Castlegar. I hope we continue to look to the future and support our community through balanced growth and change. I want our children to look back at our efforts 20-plus years from now and be proud of what we have done.