Columbia Basin Trust

Despite a world that has shifted, people and communities in the Columbia Basin have been able to rely on a constant resource: Columbia Basin Trust. Its continued ability to be a cornerstone in the region—enabling groups to strengthen and grow, and to deliver projects with impact—is laid out in its most recent annual report.

Columbia Basin Trust has successfully added 60 kilometres of high-speed fibre optic cable to its broadband network in the South Country, between Jaffray and Roosville. Internet service providers can now connect to this regional backbone, receive a higher-quality connection, and in turn improve the services they offer to customers.

Most people wouldn’t find inspiration hosing down barn walls, but Cali Emel did. When she was 16, she brought a resumé to Tanglefoot Veterinary Services in her hometown of Cranbrook. Her goal was to discover a career path that would align with her passion for animals.

Tanglefoot took her on as a volunteer, and it quickly became obvious that the job was well suited for her. “I was hosing down the large animal barn, and it just clicked in me. I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” she says. “Every day I came to work I found it was a new adventure.”

The Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors has approved funding for 100 projects around the region over the coming year.

The funding comes from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs, which are administered by the RDEK. 

As the days warm up and the wildfire season approaches, communities and groups in the Columbia Basin can access new supports for their efforts to protect people and the places they love. To help them prepare for and reduce the threat of wildfire, Columbia Basin Trust and the Province of British Columbia are partnering to support projects that build community wildfire resiliency, especially in rural areas that face high risk.

These days, so many aspects of life rely on technology: a senior sends a message to her grandchild, a man checks in with his doctor online, an unemployed worker prints off a form to apply for Employment Insurance. With a wide-reaching project, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is making tech more readily available to people in the region, along with the know-how to use it.

Forests, wetlands and riparian areas are among the habitats that will benefit from several projects that are focusing on ensuring healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems in the Columbia Basin.

“The Trust heard from people living in the Basin that ecosystem enhancement is important to maintain and improve native biodiversity in the wide variety of ecosystems that make up the region,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbia Basin Trust. “The efforts seen in these projects reflect those values as they involve hands-on work at a large scale, across entire landscapes, to create lasting effects.”

Life in the Basin is ingrained with nature, whether this involves camping, kayaking or simply waking to the sounds of birdsong. It’s no wonder that Basin youth are inspired to protect their local landscapes by getting involved with climate action.

Whether they’re enabling the public to use electric cars or promoting clean energy, eight projects are helping Columbia Basin communities become more climate-resilient, with support from Columbia Basin Trust.

“People, groups and communities throughout the region are committed to becoming more climate resilient, and we’re here to support their efforts,” said Katie Kendall, Senior Manager, Special Initiatives, Columbia Basin Trust. “These projects focus on actions in anticipation of, and in response to events, trends or opportunities related to climate change.”

People in the Columbia Basin have expressed that they want to be able to access healthy, locally grown food. Nineteen projects will make this even more possible, supported with over $980,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Food Access and Recovery Grants.