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Castlegar’s departing mayor and councillors say farewell

Kirk Duff, Dan Rye and Bergen Price did not run for reelection
The final meeting of Castlegar City Council’s current term, Oct. 17, 2022. (L-R) Dan Rye, Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff, Bergen Price, Kirk Duff, Brian Bogle, Cherryl MacLeod, Maria McFaddin. Photo: City of Castlegar

Three members of Castlegar city council said goodbye at the Oct. 17 council meeting.

Dan Rye, Bergen Price and Kirk Duff did not run in the recent municipal election and are retiring from politics, at least for now.

Kirk Duff served as mayor from May 2021 through Nov. 2022. But that is just his most recent stint in Castlegar politics. Duff previously served on city council for 18 years.

Just six weeks into his term, Duff was faced with the Merry Creek Fire and signing an emergency evacuation order for parts of the city — the first one in the city’s history.

“I thought to myself, if this isn’t hitting the ground running, I don’t know what is,” said Duff.

When Duff decided to run for mayor for the 2021 byelection, he had every intention of running for a second term. But, health concerns changed his plans and Duff announced in August that he would not be running again.

“My health is more important than sitting in this chair,” said Duff at the meeting.

“It turned out this job was all I ever thought it to be — it was a fantastic job.”

Duff and his wife Myra will now be settling into their new home in Grand Forks.

Dan Rye has been on Castlegar city council since 2011 and served as interim mayor in the months leading up to the 2021 byelection. HE also spent eight years as a councillor in Gold River, B.C.

In his remarks, Rye highlighted some of the victories and disappointments of his 11 years on council. Millennium Ponds, Sculpture Walk, Communities in Bloom, the city’s asset management plan and new master plans made the positive list.

Missing the comradeship over the months of the pandemic and not being able to bring upgrades to the Castlegar Community Complex made the negative list, as did housing.

“We need more multi-family housing, more housing for all citizens … the NIMBY attitude has got to go,” said Rye.

“Along the way I have made a lot of friends and probably a few enemies and I am going to miss council.”

Mayor Duff said, “I have always known you to be 100-per-cent in and jumping up to give advice because of your level of experience. The council will miss you, the city will miss you.”

Rye and his wife Randi have relocated to Balfour and will be enjoying retirement.

Bergen Price served one four-year term as a city councilor. He has a young and growing family, in fact, his 10-day-old son attended the farewell meeting. That is one of the reasons he is parting with politics.

“It has been an unbelievable experience to be able to serve the community and work with these wonderful councillors,” said Price.

“I think we got a lot done at the table. I think there were a lot of good discussions, a lot of respectful discussions. I will always look at my time on council with very fond memories.”

Mayor Duff said one thing he appreciated about Price was his excitement and enthusiasm for the things he believed in, even when they went against what the rest of council might be thinking.

Duff also had some parting words of wisdom for the three newly elected councillors that will be sworn in on Nov. 7.

“The experience level on council has changed … With the three new people, encourage them to take the time to learn what is going on. Try to tell them not to believe everything they have been hearing — things are not always the way they look.

“Be prepared to spend at least six months learning what your job is and how to contribute to it. As much as you may think you are going to change the world as one person, you are not — it takes a team to do it.”

“Being on city council is one of the best jobs you could ever have. There is so much more you gain from it then you could ever lose … Enjoy your next four years.”

READ MORE: Castlegar mayors honoured for service to the community

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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