This winter, the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has begun touring the area, hosting dinners and public consultation meetings in communities to question residents on how they can be served better. The Jaffray public consultation was held last Wednesday.
Having been a part of our community for 20 years now, CBT felt it was time to analyze their current structure and obtain feedback from the citizens they serve.
“Our five year strategic plan is about to be renewed. It’s time to reflect on how we have served our communities and think of new ways we can provide that support,” said Laurie Cordell, manager of special initiatives with CBT.
CBT is responsible for supporting a number of organizations and programs in the area. The organization has funded millions of dollars into hundreds of initiatives.
The public consultation tour has taken the Basin across 25 communities so far, with more to be visited in the coming year.
At the meetings, conversation is facilitated by dinner and individual stations are also set up for attendees to make their comments at their own pace.
Cordell said that although the data they have collected so far has not been analyzed yet, she still recognizes some priorities the Basin has received feedback on from residents.
“Economic development, affordable housing, youth and jobs for youth in the future are some of the top things we have heard about,” explained Cordell, adding, “Every community is a little different but I think there are some top things that resonate across the basin.”
These statements were echoed in a few of the residents who attended the consultation.
“I think it’s important to keep youth in the area,” said Maryline Fortier. “I don’t think there are so many opportunities for youth to do activities or take part in artistic outlets.”
Fortier also added she would like to see more marketing done to bring tourists and promote the area.
Andy Rogers continued in that vein and said, “I would like to find ways to keep people here but also to attend to the restoration and reclamation of the area and keep it beautiful. If you maintain the area and keep it looking attractive, then tourism will take care of itself.”
These workshops will continue in 2015, and CBT will make visits to Cranbrook, Fernie, Invermere and Kimberley.