Regional Rundown: Area F director discusses Columbia Basin Trust

In early April, the Columbia Basin Trust held its board meeting in Fairmont Hot Springs.

In early April, the Columbia Basin Trust held its board meeting in Fairmont Hot Springs. I’ve been a member of the Trust Board since January 2012, and it was with pride that I hosted the other Board members in my home area.

Prior to that, we were also able to welcome the Trust in January when a team came to the Columbia Valley to put on an Our Trust, Our Future workshop (one of 55 gatherings in the Basin). This was a time for residents to connect with the Trust to let us know their priorities and help us determine how the Trust can serve them, now and into the future.

We had a great turnout, with over 110 residents circulating through our local session and 90 attending the facilitated dinner conversation. Thank you to everyone who represented our valley! (Read a summary at

The process continues while the Trust compiles and analyzes about 18,000 pieces of information from 3,000 residents. We’ll let you know when we have information to share and when we’ll again request your valuable input. We’ll have some tough decisions to make — but thanks to your voices, they won’t be made in isolation.

In the meantime, the Trust is continuing business as usual, which includes a budget to deliver over $25 million this year to Basin communities. We’re also excited to be celebrating the Trust’s 20th anniversary — a longevity that highlights how the founders’ mission to support social, economic and environmental well-being is coming to fruition.

Our area is fortunate to be the recipient of such benefits. While I could list pages of success stories, here are just a few: Columbia Garden Village seniors’ housing; affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families; working on a valley-wide tourism plan; a boost to the Invest Kootenay economic development partnership; field trips for Grade 8 students to learn about our watershed; and the Fairmont Lions Den.

As for my participation with the Trust, I enjoy working with fellow Board members and senior management to make decisions that impact the entire Basin, while thinking longterm for the benefit of the region. I also gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in other areas, which can be transferred to the Columbia Valley.

I have a lot of respect for the work the Trust has accomplished in the region—a success based on the efforts of residents. So keep your ideas coming!

Wendy Booth is the Regional District of East Kootenay Director for Area F and the RDEK board’s vice chair. She can be reached at or 250-345-6155.