Rural development institute established by CBT and Selkirk College
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
Information is a great tool in the kit of any municipality, allowing it to forge policy, planning and decision-making.
However, it is in short supply for resource-starved rural governments in the West Kootenay. That will change after the announcement Saturday afternoon of an eight-year partnership between the Columbia Basin Trust and Selkirk College.
Called the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI), it will promote and support the use of “region-specific” information and applied research.
Housed at Selkirk College, RDI will monitor and report on a range of community indicators and trends in the Columbia Basin, including employment levels, environmental conditions, charitable donations and local crime rates.
As well, RDI will undertake new research about issues that are impacting the region, sharing it so communities can apply the knowledge to their particular situation, said CBT president and CEO, Neil Muth, during the CBT Symposium held on the weekend in Revelstoke.
“One of our goals is … to ensure communities have access to meaningful and relevant information, he said.
The idea for RDI arose out of an increased demand for and the use of information and applied research by communities. In response to this need, CBT decided to evolve its State of the Basin Initiative, which launched in 2008 with the first Basin-wide indicator report and website.
At the same time, Selkirk College’s Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development (RIC) has been a hub for data collection and research and analysis related to the regional economy since 2006.
The work of the RDI will bring together the assets of these two initiatives to create a sustained resource in the Columbia Basin.
Information, indicators and trends for the Columbia Basin are available on the CBT State of the Basin Initiative website www.cbt.org/stateofthebasin. The work of the Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development can be reviewed at www.selkirk.ca/research/ric.
Selkirk College offers over 70 certificate, diploma and certificate programs at campuses and learning centres through the West Kootenay/Boundary region and online, visit www.selkirk.ca or call 1.888.953.1133.
CBT delivers economic, social and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about CBT programs and initiatives, visit www.cbt.org or call 1.800.505.8998.