Libby City Council rundown: Ski Club requests for vehicle restriction and trail fees approved, Bridge of voices update and other council business

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Vehicle access restricted for safety

During the Libby City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Ben Scott, Kootenai Cross Country Ski Club Vice President, brought cited safety concerns while requesting the closure of leased property to motorized vehicles, and sought permission to charge trail fees.

Scott told the council the snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles pose a potential deadly risk to the skiers who take advantage of the 28 acres located at Forest Service Road 128, adjacent to Flower Creek Dam. Scott explained there has not been any incidents, yet but did not want to wait until something happened before action was taken.

“We had a quiet agreement when we were discussing this last time,” said Scott. “I got kids skiing up there -- tonight we had probably 75 or 80 kids skiing up there. There is really no way to keep anyone from going up there with a snowmobile and driving through there.”

Scott explained in the summertime, the club has permission and money to pave at the area and someone could come speeding through there with children rollerblading and riding their bicycles.

“I would just like permission or some written edict from the city,” said Scott. “I am not trying to exclude the public, I am trying to protect people while they are recreating up there.”

There was concern from some council members as to whether such an act would restrict patrons from being able to use forest service property.

Scott said the forest service and the state look to the other “property cooperators” for direction. If the city says they are not going to allow motorized vehicles up there because it is a safety issue, then the state will be more likely to agree with the city.

“Once the city and the state get on board with it, then the forest service kind of says, ‘OK, that kinda makes sense,’” he said.

A motion was made to approve the closing of the property to motorized vehicles. It was seconded and approved in a vote. The city will have signs made up to allude to the new rule.

Ski Club trail fees

In addition to closing off the leased property to motorized vehicles, Scott asked the council to allow the club to charge trail fees on the property.

At this point, a box has been established stating a five dollar fee on the honor system. He explained that trail fees would allow the club to maintain the property.

“We have worded it such that, if you become a member (of the KCCSC) $35 a year, for a family it’s $80 and if you would like to ski for the day, we request that you pay $5 a day’” Scott said.

City/County Board of Health Liaison, Laura Larson Crismore raised concerns about children who live at or below the poverty level not being able to pay the trail fees

A motion was made to allow the club to collect trail fees. The motion was seconded and it was voted to pass.

Bridge of voices

The next organisation to present in front of the council was the Bridge of Voices concept. Todd Berget, along with Montana Moon Copper Works owner, Jody Wiley-Peterson, presented for display, two wind chimes meant to represent the “voices” of the memories and cultural heritage of Libby.

Berget said his Bridge of Voice project volunteers would like to hang the chimes along the J. Neil Bridge while at the same time improving the structure of the bridge. When asked by council members for drawings or plans for the project and what Berget expects the price of it to be, Berget could not provide an answer at that time.

The council and Berget then agreed for Berget to get the plans together and an in-depth outline of the project and to come back at a later date at his convenience and approach the council again.

Other business

Libby City Administrator, Jim Hammonds, explained that the Townhouse Subdivision will be broken down into five lots

Fire report: Council member, Brian Zimmerman, reported eight calls in the month of December. Zimmerman also reported the total training hours for members in 2018, were 2,448 hours. At $20 per hour the cost came to $63,700 for the city of Libby.

Council member Rob Dufficy asked about the removal of Christmas decorations. It was discussed that the city would hire a third party to remove the ornaments but storage for the decorations could not be concluded.

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