By David F. Rooney
Tuesday proved to be a big night for local non-profits as the CBT’s Affected Areas and Community Initatives Program had $404,269 on table for those groups that successfully sold their visions to the local judges who ultimately decide who gets how much for what.
There were quite a few worthy projects eligible for the CBT’s cash — 48 projects organized by 36 local organizaitons ranging from the Arts Council to the Women’s Shelter and the Columbia Valley Skateboar Association. The projects put forward by the 36 groups were seeking $641,955 in funding from the CBT program that only had $404,269 available. In total the 48 projects had budgets that were collectively worth $2,312,111. .
If you have never seen this meeting in action below you should know it is an honest attempt to help the people of the Canadian portion of the Columbia River Basin recover from the whole-sale drowning of their homes, farms, ranches, businesses and even wntire villages and towns after the Province of BC, the Government of Canada and the United States Government signed the Columbia River Treaty. For years virtually nothing was done to compensate our people. Then in 1995 local businessmen and activists like Garry Merkel, Greg Deck and others put together aplan they convincec the province to adopt. That led to the initial capotalization of the CBT and its establishment as a Trust mandated to work with the damaged communities left after th Treaty was signed.
The Affected Areas are those thouands and thousands of hectares of rich farms, orchards, ranches and towns near here that were drowned beneath the rising water backedup behind the Keenleyside Dam at Castlegar. Unlike many other communities we allow the members of the different organizations at the meeting to pick the top 10 projects, based on the project presentations. Their opinions are scrutinized by a committee nominated by City Council, which actually decides how much money goes to how many applicants. If past experience is anything to go by almost every local group that applies for money will receive something. That’s not always the result that comes from less… mmmm… populist selection methods.