Kirk Duff. Photo: Jennifer Small

Castlegar mayor reflects on 2021

Kirk Duff has been in office for seven months

Submitted by Mayor Kirk Duff

It has been a very exciting and challenging seven and a half months since being sworn in as mayor of Castlegar on May 17, 2021!

Council adoption of the Downtown Area Plan & Housing Strategy, purchase of the Eremenko building for the Kootenay Gallery and below-market housing, beginning of the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw review, submitting a Required Navigational Performance (RNP) solution to federal regulators for approval to improve reliability of the West Kootenay Regional Airport (Cancelgar to CanDoGar) — all part of our Castlegar & District Economic Development Plan, initiation of the Castlegar Collaborative to address homelessness and persons at risk, learning to live with COVID-19 and extreme weather, signing wildfire emergency and evacuation orders.

These are some of the more significant events and initiatives that your city council has faced and worked on this year. Special thank you to the numerous participants and advisory groups that gave input and advice to our processes. Much appreciated!

Council and staff have recently reviewed and updated our Strategic Plan which feeds into the budget process. These two processes are seen as tedious and boring by many but are the single most important thing that we do as politicians. I urge all residents to tune into the Budget Open House via Zoom on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 at 5 p.m. or watch the recording at your convenience.

Thank you to all city employees for choosing to work for the city and all of our residents. Your high-quality work is much appreciated by myself and council.

Being an elected member of city council is an honourable position and requires dedication, commitment, understanding, patience, and sometimes thick skin. Respect back and forth between council members and residents, must be maintained whether in agreement or disagreement. I personally would like to thank Dan, Sue, Cherryl, Maria, Bergen, and Brian for your work as city councilors. Your experiences and backgrounds are diverse and serve you and our community well.

Council’s decision on the unfinished section of 16th Ave in South Castlegar is an example of the challenge that we face ensuring that everyone understands how the decision was arrived at regardless of whether you agree or not. Clarifying information on this issue will be presented at the budget open house on January 6. Understanding the path to a decision is a necessary part of the process and one that I will continue to strive for.

I pledged to provide positive and level-headed leadership, apply my past experiences to the best of my ability and maintain a fair and balanced approach with all council decisions. How do you think that I’ve done so far? In fact, how do you think that we, as a group, have done so far?

My family and I are proud to call Castlegar our home. Being mayor of our beautiful city is quite an honour and a pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity.

On behalf of city council and all city employees, I wish you all the best and hope that 2022 will be a year filled with good health and happiness. Happy New Year!

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