A jolt of revenue at the Columbia Basin Trust could put the Columbia Basin culture in the flush.
With revenues expected to double at the Columbia Basin Trust from the Waneta Expansion Project in Trail and the Arrow Lakes Generating Station, the Trust’s projected revenue is expected to reach a total of $48 million in 2016 and 2017, which will translate into more financial support across the Basin region.
“From September 2014 to February 2015, the Trust engaged with residents across the region to understand their priorities and where they would like to see the Trust allocate its increasing resources,” said Delphi Hoodicoff, CBT spokesperson. “We expect to have draft recommendations in the next few months with the aim to finalize our strategic priorities this fall.”
Ideas about how the CBT should focus came from multiple community engagement sessions in 55 locations throughout the Basin to consult the people it serves about what’s important to them. The CBT collected information from community workshops, meetings, and online and mailed out feedback forms.
The CBT recorded 3,000 people were involved with the process, which garnered more than 17,000 thoughts and ideas.
The action to back some of these projects stems from a 12 per cent increase from the Waneta Expansion Project in Trail this year, which will boost CBT revenues by $4.2 million next year and roughly $9 million during the following two years, which means a 16 per cent increase of total revenues.
According to the CBT, the $900 million, 335 megawatt Waneta Expansion Project adds a second powerhouse, immediately downstream of the Waneta Dam on the Pend d’Oreille River, that shares the existing hydraulic head and generates clean, renewable, cost effective power from water that would otherwise be spilled.
The project included construction of a 10-kilometre, 230 kilovolt transmission line and provides enough energy to power about 60,000 homes per year. Long-term agreements are in place with BC Hydro to purchase the energy and FortisBC to purchase the capacity from the project.
Project benefits include the injection of over $300 million into the local economy through the purchase of goods and services and wages. Employment reached over 1,400 people.
“Trust revenues will be doubling in 2016-17 to about $48 million and will hold steady for the next few years,” she said. “In addition to Waneta, the other significant driver behind the revenue increase is the renegotiation of the Power Purchase Agreement for the Arrow Lakes Generating Station. It will provide about $16 million starting in 2016-17 — about 30 per cent of total revenue.”
—With files from the CBT