CBT seeks input on community priorities

Organization hosts public forum to garner feedback on priorities and special projects in communities across the Basin.

Representatives from the Columbia Basin Trust held a public forum at the Cranbrook Archives Museum & Landmark Foundation on Tuesday to gather public feedback on special projects and community priorities.

Representatives from the Columbia Basin Trust held a public forum at the Cranbrook Archives Museum & Landmark Foundation on Tuesday to gather public feedback on special projects and community priorities.

If you have a big idea, the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) wants to hear it.

The CBT hosted a community workshop on Tuesday at the Cranbrook Archives Museum & Landmark Foundation, where the public had the chance to share their thoughts on what priorities and projects the CBT should prioritize.

Under the banner of ‘Our Trust, Our Future’, attendees were lead through sessions in the late morning and evening, where people contributed ideas in facilitated discussions and on poster boards.

It’s a process that’s underway across the Basin, as the CBT looks to find ways to further support each community, according to Greg Deck, the chair of the CBT board of directors.

“You’ve got some big overarching themes that we were created to do: Social, environmental and economic,” said Deck. “Those are our three mandated responsibilities. It doesn’t come any bigger than that.”

However, the challenge is drilling down to finding more specific areas, such as youth engagement and alternative energy, and initiatives the CBT can tackle in partnership with communities to be more effective.

“We’re trying to design the big stuff that covers the Basin and the whole organization and a lot of folks engage with us on very small things,” said Deck. “We’re trying to learn about the small things they want us to have an appreciation for; at the same time we want to use that conversation to make sure they have an appreciation for what the other end of the business looks like.

“We each want to look through the other end of the telescope and make sure everybody’s got a sense of what it’s like on the other side.”

According to Deck and Kindy Gosal, the CBT’s director of special initiatives, Cranbrook had the largest turnout yet of their tour through the region. There are roughly a dozen common themes that are prevalent in each community session, Gosal added.

The trick becomes figuring out what the CBT already provides and how it can further meet the needs for community priorities and projects.

“We’re hearing about individual community projects, such as the firehall here, playgrounds, greenhouses, etc, but there are also themes running through the entire region.

“Workforce, development of workforce, economic development, jobs, affordable housing, recreational infrastructure, community infrastructure. Those types of things are coming through loud and clear,” said Gosal.

“So some of those things, CBT is already involved in. Some of those things we’ve been thinking about getting involved in, but haven’t really done it because we’ve been waiting for a process like this to really verify whether or not they are community priorities.

“At the end of the day, at the end of this process, we’ll have a number of individual themes that communities want us to work on with them. The board will take that and have to make a decision as to the breadth and depth in those areas, but part of the work that goes on at the end of these public sessions is to understand what those themes are.”