Columbia Basin Trust to double revenue in next four years

CBT looking ahead to update management plan in face of revenue windfall.

The Columbia Basin Trust is expecting to almost double their revenue over the next four years and will be engaging with communities in the region to discuss funding priorities, according to Neil Muth, president and CEO of the CBT.

In a meeting with the RDEK board of directors last Friday morning, Muth gave a CBT year in review presentation that highlighted the new boost in revenue, which is being generated mostly due to expansions in power projects.

“Our revenue is going to double from about $27 million to $55 million,” said Muth. “We have a high degree of certainty about that because of the investments in the power projects. The power produced is sold under long-term contracts so short of a unanticipated outage at one of the plants, the revenue is not pie-in-the-sky dreams.”

This past year, the CBT handed out $22 million in funding across the Basin, ranging from community, economic, water and environment, social, broadband and youth initiatives.

Specifically within the jurisdiction of the RDEK, a few projects that received CBT funding included hall renovations at Akisqnuk, Wilmer, Hosmer and Baynes Lake; avalanche transceiver training facility and staffing costs for an East Kootenay community energy manager through the community development program.

Other funding included youth grants for air cadets and social grants for EK child care needs assessment.

“In addition to our work with geographic communities, we have four specific strategic plans that govern our work in what we refer to as our sector areas, so the environment, economic, social and our work in our youth initiatives,” added Muth.

“We establish goals under each strategic plans and those plans are developed through extensive consultation processes with residents throughout the basin.”

Next year will be a big year for the CBT, which will mark it’s 20th anniversary. The CBT has grown to roughly 45 staff in four offices across the region since it’s inception and has a $686.4 million investment value—80 per cent of which comes from power projects such as Waneta Expansion, Arrow Lakes, the Brilliant Dam, and the Brilliant Expansion.

Along with the 20th anniversary and the projected revenue increase, it’s time for review the Basin’s management plan, which is updated every four or five years, according to Muth.

“It will be the deepest engagement that Columbia Basin Trust has embarked upon since we were created and will likely be the deepest, broadest engagement that we will do for a long period of time,” Muth said.

“It is labour intensive, it is financially intensive, but we’re going to get out into communities over the next year throughout the Basin in a number of different ways to talk to them about that increased revenue and what do Basin residents want us to do with it.”