For Kirk Duff, the seventh time could be the charm. Duff is putting his name up for Castlegar city councillor and, if elected, it would be his seventh term, longest of any current councillor. Duff was in office from 1990-2002 and again from 2005 to the present. In 2002 he ran for mayor and lost to Michael O’Connor.
There are many issues facing the next council, said Duff, but none more important than the expansion of the airport lands.
“It’s been a long time coming. It’s a project we’ve been talking about since before 2005,” said Duff. “Getting the water and sewer over there is critical for the economic development of that area. It’s all part of the belief that we’re the economic centre of the Kootenays.”
Also important to the City of Castlegar is the water meter program. “We’re not installing them because we don’t have enough water,” he said. “We’re trying to reduce the amount of water we have to treat because it costs a lot of money to treat the water. Also, we were told we wouldn’t qualify for any infrastructure grants unless we reduced the amount of water we used.”
Duff thinks the water meters will help tremendously in the city’s efforts to reduce water consumption. “When you have a water meter on your house, you’re far more likely to pay attention to how much water you’re using than not,” he said.
“It’s just one of a variety of methods we’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to.”
Improving city infrastructure such as roads is another important issue for council. “What’s really critical is to maintain our annual road rehabilitation – redoing roads that are identified as being important to be redone,” he said. “And of course, making sure our water and sewer systems are up to snuff. So those require a lot of ongoing money. None of these are cheap.”
There are several recent council accomplishments that Duff is proud of, including assisting with the development of Grandview Heights.
“It was a major contribution we made out of our reserve funds to help build the southern access into their development,” said Duff. “It’ll be very exciting as they continue forward with the other development there (Grandview Chateau). “Certainly the members of the board up there have worked hard for a number of years and certainly deserve a nice development that they can be proud of.”
Another council accomplishment Duff is pleased with is the work on the storm sewers near Stellar Place on Columbia Avenue south of Canadian Tire.
“It’s a joint project between the Ministry of Transportation and the City of Castlegar,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll eliminate that big lake that always forms there after a rain storm.”
Duff feels that this council has been able to maintain a balanced approach in their budgeting process. “We had some hiccoughs involving the industrial taxation but now that that’s settled we’ve been maintaining pretty modest increases in terms of taxation considering what we’ve been able to deliver,” he said. “Our budgets – I’ve considered them very well-balanced. The fact that this council has been together for a number of years. The community obviously has appreciated our work over the years since we do get re-elected.”
Duff and his wife have lived in Castlegar since 1988. He works as a manager at Tech Cominco and is a member of the Lion’s Club. He enjoys boating and travelling in his spare time.