Citizens for a Better Flathead: Dead or Alive

By Catherine Haug, October 2019

You may have heard that Citizens for a Better Flathead (CFB) board voted to shut down (hibernate) the organization due to lack of sufficient funding (see Daily Interlake article, Aug 30, 2019 for more detail). They have been a vital, vocal land-use advisory group since 1992.

Then Mayre Flowers called a meeting of long-time supporters to discuss their vision for the future of the organization. That meeting was held on October 1, 2019.

If you believe in the work of CFB, please consider supporting the organization – financially and/or volunteering – if they do decide to start-up again. Read on for examples of CFB’s past work, and Mayre’s notes from that Oct 1 meeting.

Examples of the work CFB has done in the past:

  • Provided insight into rational planning that protects our environment and the character of the Valley that people look for as a place to live.
  • Advocated for sustainable policy and planning.
  • Provided experienced guidance and context for neighborhood groups.
  • Represented the views of affected citizens to County Planning and Zoning, and to the County Commissioners when new business and/or residential developments have been proposed.
  • Provided necessary informative material that addresses Climate Change (see what is now Climate Smart Glacier Country).
  • Supported efforts to recycle/repurpose what would otherwise be waste added to the landfill (see what is now the Waste-Not Project).
  • Published the Go Local Flathead Valley magazine twice a year to highlight our community’s local entrepreneurs and promote the benefits of spending your dollars at local businesses

Mayre’s notes (Oct 3, 2019):

“The current CBF board presented how hard they had worked over the last several years and efforts they had made to attract more members and younger members through the development of a new strategic plan. They were applauded for their dedication and the challenging work they had done! The board shared how much they believed in the mission of Citizens and how difficult it had been for them to come to the decision to shut down when donations did not come in to meet expenses.

The board expressed their appreciation for everyone who had turned out for the meeting. They supported the formation of a new strategic transition committee to lead a revitalization effort to begin to rebuild and continue the core work that Citizens has done for so many years. As soon as next week the newly formed strategic transition committee will meet to begin the rebuilding process. Given the shortage of funding at this point, the current office will still close by the end of October and staff will not be retained. As board chair, Wendy Coyne stated, the committee will have a clean slate with board support to begin their work and to decide how best to focus the future efforts of CBF.

If you are interested in:

  • viewing comments that came in (and are still coming in) for the meeting click here.
  • volunteering to serve on the strategic transition committee or helping in other ways for now just email [the transition team].

There was a shared commitment between all in attendance to doing a better job of keeping those interested in seeing the work of CBF continue, connected to these new efforts, with opportunity for ongoing input.”

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