by Karen Lyncoln
for the Pathfinder
June 18, 1998
"The Community Council is charged with facilitating communications with boards that provide infrastructure services to the community," said Paul Conn, Chairman of the Seeley Lake Community Council, as he opened the Council's annual Infrastructure meeting on Monday evening, June 15th. Conn noted that in an unincorporated community like Seeley Lake there is no overall supervision of various boards and their activities. The Missoula County Commissioners set up the Community Council to act as liaison between the County Commissioners and the community.
Representatives of community boards such as the Community Hall, Sewer District, and Hospital District; local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, and Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company; and government offices such as the County Surveyor, the County Sheriff's Office, the US Forest Service, and the Seeley Lake Elementary School attended the meeting and reported on progress on existing projects and goals for the future.
The annual Infrastructure meeting was first held several years ago when major projects such as building the Fire Hall, renovating the elementary school, and forming the Refuse District were on the agenda. This year's meeting did not need to coordinate such major events but fulfilled its purpose in allowing groups to pool their information on projects and coordinate their efforts.
For example, the Community Council has been pursuing funding for construction an all season pathway along Highway 83. Horace Brown, County Surveyor, has been helping to identify potential funding sources. Tim Love, representing the US Forest Service, noted that the Forest Service is investigating doing a feasibility study of developing a trail between the Double Arrow Golf Course and the viewing blind at the Forest Service offices north of town. He noted that these two trail ideas could be combined.
Doug Mood, representing Pyramid Mountain Lumber, made the most dramatic report of the meeting when he announced that Pyramid had laid off 8 employees and reduced the number of hours in an employee's work day to 6 hours. Mood explained that the layoffs were due to a 30 percent decline in the value of the mill's finished products, primarily because of the instability of Asian markets.
Mood noted that contrary to rumors for the past 30 years, the mill is not closing, and plans to upgrade the facility are underway. The layoffs may last as long as 2 years, but Pyramid has a long term commitment to the community
Tom Morris, a member of both the Community Council and the Sewer Board, reported that the groundwater quality report has been completed and that the Board will study the findings in July. A full report will then be made to the public.
Nina Duncan of the Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative reported that the co-op had recently submitted a zero percent loan application on behalf of the Hospital District for construction of a new clinic facility. Loans backed by the co-op in the past included the senior citizen center and the conference center at Double Arrow Golf Resort.