New resource for sport and physical activity in the region – The Trust and viaSport are providing $1.1 million

Apr 09, 2015

For Immediate Release
April 9, 2015



The Trust and viaSport are providing $1.1 million


(Columbia Basin) – People engaged in sport and physical activity in the Columbia Basin can look forward to improved support through the newly formed PacificSport Columbia Basin Society. Columbia Basin Trust and viaSport are providing $800,000 and $300,000 respectively toward this initiative over the next three years.

The society’s primary goals are to promote sport and physical activity in the Basin; provide services and programs for local athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers; and promote health by encouraging and helping the public to participate in physical activities.

“The Trust has been working on this since May 2013 to determine how we can best support sport and physical activity in the Basin,” said Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust President and CEO. “We’re pleased to partner with viaSport to establish the PacificSport Columbia Basin Society. It will draw on the expertise of the broader provincial alliance to advance local priorities.”

Still in its formative stages, the society will work with Basin communities and organizations, as well as access the broader provincial alliance of sports organizations that serves as a resource hub to educate, inspire and enable residents to participate, play and perform, no matter their activity or level of expertise.

“ViaSport’s mandate is to increase awareness, opportunity and participation in sport across the province, at every stage of life and in every community,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, viaSport CEO. “Working with the PacificSport Columbia Basin Society and partners in our Regional Alliance, we are helping to expand the possibilities for all British Columbians.” Learn more about viaSport at

Working on the ground to develop sports and physical activity in the Basin, many Basin residents have been integral to this process:

“Being part of this network will help bring the Kootenays to a more equal playing field with the rest of the province, improve sport and physical activity opportunities for all residents, encourage regular physical activity and physical literacy and improve residents’ health and wellness levels,” said Sandi Lavery, new Board member and Program Coordinator/Instructor, University of Victoria East Kootenay Teacher Education Program at College of the Rockies.

“This will benefit people of all ages, from those wishing to have fun and stay fit, to those striving to excel in their sport,” said Janis Neufeld, new Board member and President, Kootenay Sufferfest Society. “We’ll make better use of the facilities we already have while improving our ability to attract and retain coaches and support our volunteers. By having communities work together, it will help eliminate some of the barriers and boundaries that this region encounters.”



Nine members sit on the society’s Board of Directors:

  • Anthony Bell, Rossland
  • Alan Chell, Revelstoke
  • Karen Kettenacker, Cranbrook
  • Sandi Lavery, Cranbrook
  • Neil Muth, Castlegar
  • Janis Neufeld, Nakusp
  • Kim Palfenier, Procter
  • Jordan Petrovics, Golden
  • Glenda Newsted, Sparwood.

Columbia Basin Trust supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, visit or call 1.800.505.8998.




PHOTO: The Board of Directors of the PacificSport Columbia Basin Society. From left to right:  Neil Muth, Jordan Petrovics, Karen Kettenacker, Janis Neufeld, Sandi Lavery, Glenda Newsted, Kim Palfenier and Alan Chell, plus Bill Woodley, Vice-President Business Development and Operations, viaSport. Missing: Anthony Bell.


TO TWEET OR POST: New support for sport and physical activity groups in the Columbia Basin.



Rachel Lucas
Columbia Basin Trust

Erica Branda
viaSport British Columbia