With a vision for economic growth in the Lower Columbia, the Columbia Basin Trust is putting a new economic development plan into action. The Trust is purchasing a commercial building in the Waneta Industrial Park near Trail and, with the help of a local tech industry entrepreneur, expects the new facility to offer up new jobs and opportunities and provide the model for future projects.
“The Trust’s vision for economic development is to be a leader, a catalyst and an investor. We want to support economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities in the Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Trust President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Our intention with this project is to take a dormant facility and work with a company or companies that will fully utilize the building and the area’s workforce. This is much more than a building. The Trust is the catalyst for this entrepreneurial opportunity to bring ideas to life,” Strilaeff said.
Local technology entrepreneur Brian Fry of Rossland and his business partners, Pilar Portela and Tim Dufour, plan to create an innovation centre for their data technology company and establish a venture capital corporation to help emerging companies expand.
“The structure was originally built to leverage the world-leading metallurgical capabilities of the region. Now, with the Trust’s economic development focus and patient capital, we can once again leverage these capabilities and complementary tech industry opportunities,” Fry said.
“The Trust’s strategy is to maximize economic opportunities in all regions of the Basin, be that through increased employment, local investment or business development. This building is an example of an asset that can help achieve that vision,” Strilaeff said.