Former Councillor Kirk Duff is running for Mayor in Castlegar.
Having already served in Council for 18 years, Duff said his political experience leaves him well-positioned in the by-election. He is also active outside of City Hall.
“I’ve been living with my family here in Castlegar for 33 years now,” said Duff. “I’ve been involved with the lions club for 40-plus years, served on several volunteer boards in town, Sculpture Walk, library, Hospital Foundation, Homecoming Committee, helped with the senior’s games and the Kootenay Festival.”
Duff said he aims to provide the residents of Castlegar with a “fresh restart” including respectful discussion or disagreement, which he added is a part of a healthy democracy.
On fiscal matters, Duff said he would like to help create a budget that doesn’t break the bank for locals.
“I would like to work with Council to pause, take a breath, and hold the line of taxation in 2022,” Duff said. “With no increases, other than the normal inflation affecting cost-of-service delivery.”
Duff went on to address what he called the biggest issue. Housing and homelessness.
“Right now Community Services is assisting with temporary housing and harm reduction for a segment of the homeless population. [They are] highly visible, but not the only face of homelessness. We need to be careful not to put all homeless persons in one demographic category. That would be biased against the demographic that could be argued is the most at risk of homelessness, which is women with children and elderly women.”
Increasing the amount of housing is a solution Duff put forward. From bachelor dwellings to high-density housing and single-family homes, more options that fit people’s needs will open up the market.
“The City can actively participate by, first of all, completing the Housing Strategy and of course encouraging private sector housing stock development,” Duff added. “The Official Community Plan, zoning bylaws that we have… review the development cost charges. Basically, review anything that is seen to have a potential impact on housing development.”
Duff said that looking back, he is proud of his accomplishments as a Councillor and then provided some examples.
“Being a part of the original Council decisions when the Millennium Park, Kinsmen Water Park and the recreation centre expansion that provided the senior centre and the library expansion first went from idea to reality.”
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