Rossland mayoral candidate Kim LaFond would revisit city hall decision

Kim LaFond (Submitted photo)

A man running for mayor in Rossland says he would take another look at whether the city should move its offices to a mixed-use project presently under construction.

Kim LaFond says while the building itself is past the point of no return, whether city hall moves there “could be a different issue.”

“It’s prime real estate for any business that wants to get started in Rossland or a business that’s outgrown their space,” he says. “The space set aside in that building for city hall could be revamped or rented or leased out.”

LaFond says he was prompted to run in part because he feels a referendum should have been held on the city’s financial contribution to the project, which is in partnership with the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society.

- Advertisement -

LaFond says it was no secret that the site, a former railway depot and highways yard, was contaminated, and he believes the remediation should have been included as a direct cost rather than as a contingency. The contingency fund of $847,000 has now been exhausted, including more than $400,000 spent on soil removal.

LaFond was born in Rossland and has lived there nearly all his life. He says the city has changed over the years, but he wants to “maintain the friendly, small-town atmosphere Rossland is well known for.” However, he adds, that may be a challenge as the city grows.

He also wants to pursue more housing for seniors and feels the city should have tried harder to negotiate with developer Cezary Ksiazek, who proposed a seniors complex on the former Cook Avenue school site, but failed in his bid for rezoning because the project was larger than what would normally be allowed.

LaFond served two terms on city council, from 1999 to 2005, but did not seek re-election because he was working full-time and unable to give council duties his full attention.

“Now I’m a little older and supposed to be semi-retired, so why not get involved and see if I couldn’t do something good for the municipality?”

LaFond says he was undecided whether he would run for mayor or councillor when he attended a council meet-and-greet on Sept. 6. At that point nobody had yet put their name forward for mayor, so he filed his papers the next day. Later in the week, incumbent councillor Andy Morel made it a two-way race.