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CBT and Selkirk College develop Rural Development Institute

Columbia Basin Trust and Selkirk College are pleased to announce the establishment of the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI), which will promote and support informed planning and decision-making in the Columbia Basin through region-specific information and applied research.

The RDI, housed at Selkirk College, will monitor and report on a wide range of community indicators and trends in the Columbia Basin-including employment levels, environmental conditions, charitable donations, local crime rates and many more-as well as undertake new and relevant research about issues that are impacting the region. The RDI will then ensure this information and research is broadly shared and understood so that communities can apply the knowledge to their particular situation.

"One of our goals is to support local communities in identifying and meeting their priorities, and in particular, to ensure communities have access to meaningful and relevant information," said Neil Muth, CBT President and CEO. "We are honoured to partner with Selkirk College and build on complementary goals and existing assets in order to generate better understanding of our region and provide support for communities to make informed decisions about their future."

Seeing an increased demand for and the use of information and applied research by communities, CBT decided to evolve its State of the Basin
Initiative which launched in 2008 with the first Basin-wide indicator report and website. Simultaneously, 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.

Marilyn Luscombe, President and CEO of Selkirk College, indicated: "Selkirk College is delighted to partner with Columbia Basin Trust to extend the capacity of our Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development from the West Kootenay Boundary Region to serve the entire Columbia Basin. This partnership and the additional financial resources allocated will enable a more complete and current research and information base for use by communities and regions throughout the Basin."

Information, indicators and trends for the Columbia Basin are currently available at CBT's State of the Basin Initiative website. The work of the Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development can be reviewed here.

This article is a press release from Selkirk College.