Letters to the editor Nov. 13
Debate around the proposed Mountain Gateway project north of Whitefish has sparked new interest about where and how future growth should occur in the Flathead. That’s not a debate many communities in the West and especially small towns are having as they would love growth.
Perhaps not any, but at least some growth since tens of millions of people left rural communities in the second-half of the 20th century and continue to lose younger people to larger cities. With them go employment, business, a tax base and eventually hope. In Montana 18 counties had growth rates at or below 0% between 2010 and 2020, with only 3 experiencing 20% or more. Flathead was in the 10-20% range. Bozeman joined four other micro areas to be the fastest-growing in the US.
According to Brookings, some small towns, exurbs and micro areas did experience growth during the Covid pandemic, as we’ve certainly experienced here in Montana (especially Kalispell and Helena). This growth however was typically for permanent family relocations where residence, employment, education and related family needs are met and people serve. In contrast, the Flathead continues to see growth in largely the vacation home market.
In addition to infrastructure, density, and municipal services questions lies the issue of affordable and workforce housing. Only Whitefish is making a genuine effort at implementing policies that actually might expand some affordable housing while the county overall is in crisis.
The July 2021 residential market statistics report showed that residential sales over July 2020 were up 175% in Lakeside (with a median sales price of $1,120,000), 51% in Columbia Falls (median price of $575,400), 37% in Kalispell (median price of $445,000) and 5% in Bigfork and Whitefish (with median prices of $620,000 and $575,000 respectively).
Can any of our children afford this? It’s time to rethink our future.
— Pat Malone, Columbia Falls
Nothing new under the sun:
So says the wisest man they say who ever lived. He continued, “The wind blows to the south and turns back to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from. There they return again.”
Perhaps the climate changers could explain the dinosaurs bones over east? According to scientist it was once a swamp, man the climate sure changed over there. And there was no drilling rigs or model Ts or 737’s.
Like the tower of Babel those billionaires are flopping around up there. To each their own, I guess. According to the magazine Scientific American our Milky Way alone contains over 1 trillion planets and that’s just one galaxy in a universe of at least 100 billion.
If that doesn’t make man feel insufficient I don’t know what will.
The climate has always changed. When the climate changes the one who created it will have the final say. Instead of pouring money down that Paris Climate Accord rat hole, the money would be better spent helping those dear folks who are flooded out and burned out and lost everything.
Perhaps Solomon said it best thinking about man’s efforts. “Meaningless, meaningless a chasing after the wind.”
— Dale Terrillion, Proctor
Who remembers a couple of sayings that have been used to persuade the public to give up our rights and or money? Such as “shovel ready jobs.” Never happened. Another, “If you like your health care, you can keep your health care.” How did that work out?
Currently, we have heard over and over, “Follow the science.” This got me thinking – which science are the CDC, NIH, FDA, White House, etc. following. Is it medical science or political science?
— Barb Blum, Lakeside