Columbia Basin Trust exists to support the efforts of the people of the Columbia Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being. The Trust accomplishes this work through programs and initiatives that support local organizations to better life in the Basin.

We take our lead from the people of the Basin and in 2015, 13 priorities were developed to guide how the Trust would support Basin communities for the next five years. Let’s reflect on what was important to you then, and how far we have come together.

Affordable Housing

Residents have access to affordable housing that meets their basic needs.

  • 600 affordable housing rental units being created.
  • $116.7 million in new investments in housing being attracted to the Basin (2016-19). This funding combined with Trust commitments of $29 million equates to $145.7 million in overall funding.
  • Over 1,000 affordable rental housing units upgraded through the Energy Retrofit Program and Housing Initiative.


Agricultural production is fostered and residents have access to healthy food.

  • 345 producers accessed services through the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors.
  • Over $440,000 to support 10 community-led food recovery solutions.
  • Waitlists reduced at 10 farmers’ markets and five new markets were added through the Nutrition Coupon Program, benefiting an additional 225 families.
  • 550 agriculture stakeholders participated in three events that created a collaborative network of Columbia Basin food producers, food buyers and food processors.


Arts, Culture & Heritage

The history and culture of the Basin is celebrated by vibrant arts, culture and heritage.

  • Supported over 700 projects including approximately 569 through Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, 27 public art, 29 art venues and 88 heritage projects.
  • Purchased historic Creston grain elevators and is currently engaged in heritage preservation related activities.


High-speed Internet connectivity is available throughout the region.

  • Enhanced services to 12,000 underserved households in the region through partnerships with 13 Internet Service Providers and the Connecting Canadians Program.
  • $10.2 million capital expansion project will add an additional 13 points of presence and 175 km of backbone to Basin broadband infrastructure (complete in 2021).
  • 895km extended broadband network connecting 34 communities.

Community Priorities

Communities (geographic or communities of interest) work together to identify and address their priorities.

  • Over $19.6 million was committed to 350 projects that are consistent with the Trust’s mandate between 2016 and 2019.
  • 608 community-initiated projects were delivered in partnership with local governments.
  • Sponsored over 200 community events, festivals, conferences and community celebrations every year.
  • Over $6 million committed to the Community Outdoor Revitalization Grants to strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Basin communities by creating welcoming, safe and vibrant public spaces that support community gathering.
  • Provided multi-year funding to 28 established community youth networks who increase local activities and opportunities for youth aged 12 to 18.


Early Childhood Development

Children have access to resources that support healthy growth and development.

  • 436 new child care spaces being created.
  • 2,977 existing child care spaces being improved.
  • 115 Early Child Educators received training.
  • All 20 Basin Early Years Tables supported to enhance community-focused early years activities.

Economic Development

A diverse and resilient economy is supported by strong businesses, a trained workforce and sufficient job opportunities.

  • The Impact Investment Fund has provided $2.9 million in financing to Basin businesses with community benefits, creating over 133 new jobs.
  • 924 businesses supported through the Basin Business Advisors and Basin RevUp programs.
  • 1,000 student jobs created through the Student Wage Subsidy Program.
  • 1,734 individuals trained through the Training Fee Support program to develop specialized skills needed in today’s labour market.


Healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems support ecological and human needs.

  • 1,800 hectares of aquatic habitat and 6,200 hectares terrestrial habitat improved through supported projects.
  • 131 projects supported through Environment Grants.
  • Over 9,000 students benefited from Trust-supported education programs.

Land Acquisition

Key parcels of land are acquired to advance a variety of community and regional priorities.

  • Since 1998 the Trust has help preserve 100,000 hectares of private land through covenants and purchases for ecological values.
  • Supported local governments in purchasing 91.6 hectares of land for regional parks and recreational opportunities.
  • Launched a three-year Land Acquisition Grants Program that will help local governments, First Nations communities and non-profit organizations acquire land and buildings for a variety of community purposes, such as recreational and cultural values.

    Non-Profit Support

    Non-profits have strong organizational foundations and offer services to address community priorities.

    • 227 non-profits connected with an Advisor and received an assessment to increase organizational effectiveness through the Non-profit Advisors Program.
    • 173 grants offered for non-profits to receive consultant support to build organizational capacity through the Non-profit Advisors Program.
    • 137 non-profits supported through the Non-profit Technology Grant Program.
    • 52 training workshops and six webinars offered to help non-profits improve board development, strategic planning, human resources and operations.
    • 13 Community Foundations supported through bursaries to build organization capacity, as well as an investment option that offers financial stability.

      Recreation and Physical Activity

      Recreation infrastructure and physical activity opportunities enable healthy lifestyles.

      • The Recreation Infrastructure Grants supported 153 projects which improved, upgraded or built 350 km of trail, 53 outdoor facilities and 15 indoor facilities in 42 Basin communities.
      • Basin PLAYS Initiative supported 78 Basin schools to deliver new physical literacy programs, supported 88 coaches and officials with training grants and completed 59 Capital Improvement projects with contributions over $800,000.
      • Trail Enhancement Grants reached every corner of the Basin from Montrose to Sparwood to Valemount by funding 53 projects with nearly $1 million to develop, rehabilitate or enhance trails.
      • Brought together representatives from 70 various trail user groups in the region for four regional trails meetings.


        Renewable and Alternative Energy

        Renewable and alternative energy generation and conservation opportunities are supported and realized.


        • Energy Sustainability and Energy Retrofit Programs improved over 935 affordable housing units and upgraded 44 community purpose buildings saving over 2,980,530 ekWh/yr of energy and $204,130 in energy costs annually.
        • Partnered with regional districts to develop a robust electric vehicle network with 53 charging stations to create over 1,870 km of connected electric vehicle travel.
        • Through a partnership with BC Hydro and the Regional District of East Kootenay, the Trust supported a Community Energy Manager, who engaged with more than 150 builders, residents and realtors through 10 extension efforts.

        “The Ktunaxa Shuswap Asset Management Initiative is an exciting opportunity to bring together the skills and resources of our communities and that of BC Housing, Columbia Basin Trust and Indigenous Services Canada, providing increased opportunity and capacity towards our goals of a safe and healthy community and housing.”

        – Tobacco Plains Chief and Council

        “Public art has the power to energize and enhance our public spaces, making us think and transform where we live, work and play. Public art helps celebrate the qualities that make one town different from another and will often reach a demographic that would never otherwise set foot in an art gallery or museum.”

        – Teri Cleverly

        “It takes a certain amount of fundraising and technical expertise, which is what CBBC is giving us. That is enabling us to bring massive bandwidth to a community that would otherwise have to make do with a very small allotment.”

        – Don Scarlett

        “The Nakusp Downtown Revitalization Project has certainly achieved our stated goal for phase one in creating attractive, convenient, and pedestrian friendly spaces in the Downtown Core. Anecdotally our project has received positive feedback from both residents and visitors to the community”

        – Mark Tennant

        “This Project is making a big difference in the quality of care I am able to provide for the children. With our new car seats and wagon, we will be able to go farther and see and do more things. The educational toys are stimulating the children’s imaginations and I feel that they are already learning and growing with having them in their daycare environment.”

        – Chatterbugs Child Care

        “I’m a really strong believer that when kids know the names of the flora and fauna that live in their place, they’ll be more likely to protect them in the future and become stewards of the environment.”

        – Laura Jackman

        “Conserving the Next Creek watershed and expanding Darkwoods represents the fulfillment of a conservation vision that started over a decade ago. We are grateful for the continued support of Columbia Basin Trust. Their clear commitment to conservation has helped to make a real, on-the-ground difference to the people, wildlife and ecosystems of the Columbia Basin region.”

        – Nancy Newhouse

        “Each board member was asked to think individually about our personal goals for the rescue and how we wanted to move the organization forward. The facilitator was able to break these ideas down into a plan that I don’t think we ever would have been able to see for ourselves; I feel as though this service was able to get us organized in a way we did not have the means to do previously.”

        – Alannah Knapp

        “Our outdoor adventures class has made a huge difference in students’ engagement in physical literacy in the outdoors at our school. Youth that had never participated in outdoor recreation activities are now keen on pursuing multi-day hiking and canoeing trips and are already signing up for next year. Having the funding to break these barriers for youth has been amazing!”

        – JV Humphries

        “Housing affects the health and well-being of all Lower Kootenay Band members. It goes to more than improving homes and making things safer—it also improves the quality of life for the families that live in these homes. I have had community members share how warm their house is now that the attic insulation is upgraded, or their heating bill is less than half the amount than last winter.”

        – Debbie Edge-Partington