Opponents speak out against Creston water bottling plant

Posted at 9:33 AM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 11:33:36-04

KALISPELL – Flathead Valley residents rallied — and even brought out the ukuleles — to have their thoughts heard on the controversial proposed Creston water bottling plant during a County Commissioners meeting on Thursday.

Commissioners re-heard public comments from a previous meeting, and new comments from concerned residents about the Egan Slough Initiative, aimed at expanding the Egan Slough District to businesses like Creston Water.

Thursday’s hearing was ordered by Judge Allison in late-March when he ruled that the commissioners had abused their discretion when they ignored public testimony in favor of the zoning amendment that could have blocked Montana Artesian Water in 2016.

Protesters rallied outside along Main Street in Kalispell during the morning commute while inside public comment ahead of Flathead County Commissioners meeting got passionate.

The issue is a  proposed water-bottling plant near Creston.

"I just think that water is the most important thing," said Helen Pilling of Kila who opposes the plant.

"To me, this would be a real infringement of our property rights and I would like to know what criteria commissioners did you use to favor the property rights of one property owner and by that violating the property rights of probably over 2-thousand property owners," added Many Lakes homeowner Adele Zimmerman.

Opponents say they want commissioners to protect their farms and water from industrial developments like the bottling plant. There’s no word on when a decision will be handed down.

This meeting had nothing to do with the June 5th  vote on Initiative 17-01, which will be on the primary ballot.

RELATED: State upholds permits for controversial Flathead water plant