Jon Lefebure is back to manual labour. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Lefebure rebuilds his previous life in construction

Former North Cowichan Mayor enjoys the transition back to physical outdoor work

From the boardroom to using boards to build rooms.

It’s been a year of transition for former North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure after he lost to Al Siebring by a mere 11 votes in an all-Chemainus battle during the municipal elections last October. He elected not to seek a recount.

“I did talk to the chief elections officer,” Lefebure indicated while on the job of his housing project on Willow Street in Chemainus. “She said with the electronic balloting, you’d have to have something screwball going on for there to be an error.”

So ended a long tenure in political life for Lefebure. He was a North Cowichan councillor from 1999-2002, mayor from 2002-2008 and 2011-2018 as well as chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District in 2005 and from 2015-2018 inclusive.

Following the election results, it was literally back to the drawing board for Lefebure to rekindle his former life as a construction worker. Lefco Developments Ltd., co-owned by wife Marlene Hayes, hadn’t been involved in any big building projects during his time in office.

“I was only doing the odd maintenance job on the buildings we owned,” he confided.

With more time on his side suddenly, Lefebure didn’t have any meeting rooms to sit around in and was anxious do a construction project in the field that sparked his interest going back to his days as a student at Carleton University in Ottawa.

The ideal opportunity came along to redevelop his property at 9833 Willow St. into a seven-unit multi-family building and Lefebure found himself on the opposite side of the process of gaining approvals and permits from North Cowichan. The Cottages on Willow have been rising from the ground to street level steadily in the last few months, with Lefebure and brother Todd doing most of the work.

“Seniors building housing for seniors,” Todd joked.

Jon Lefebure’s son Sean was on the site frequently during the summer, particularly with the rebar work before returning to school. Various electrical, plumbing and cement work has been contracted out along the way.

“A few weeks, we’ll start working on the walls,” said Lefebure. “Slow and steady.”

Physically, he says he feels a lot better being outside to work again no matter what the weather conditions.

“I don’t think it’s healthy to sit in on meetings that stretch from two hours to 10 hours of your day,” Lefebure confided.

“I’m also very tired at the end of the day.”

But it’s a different kind of tired and a literal breath of fresh air after so many years being entrenched in public life.

With the demands of his current project, “I don’t even get a chance to think about other things,” Lefebure conceded. “There’s always a new problem to solve here.”

Overall, it’s been a rather painless transition, he remarked, other than a few aches and pains from bending and stretching in ways he hasn’t done for a few years.

Lefebure acknowledged he does miss aspects of his previous job.

“There were some new counsellors I was looking forward to working with, but I didn’t get a chance to,” he said. “The best part of my job was working with professional staff. I’ll always cherish those memories. When you add up all their knowledge and experience, it was a real treat to work with them.”

But sometimes things are just meant to be and that’s the way Lefebure feels about the election results in hindsight. “I don’t know anybody who likes to lose. It just seems the gods smiled on me. I had this to go to and this is where I like to be every day.

“The timing was perfect,” he said. “This project was ready to go. I couldn’t have afforded to build it if I wasn’t doing it myself.”

With his brother in the background whom he says has been “phenomenal”, “this is a bigger project than I usually tackle,” Lefebure indicated.

The units will be available as rentals when completed.

“My only sort of goal was to be finished by the end of next year,” Lefebure said. “Now I’m looking at like a year from now.”

He has no plans to run again in any future elections or it might lead to a dirty seven-letter word – d-i-v-o-r-c-e – with his wife.

“I told her we weren’t going to run again last time,” Lefebure chuckled. “That changed.”

This time, he’s keeping his nose to the construction grindstone.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jon Lefebure looks over his work to make sure it measures up. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Jon Lefebure during his former days in the North Cowichan Mayor’s chair. (File photo)

Just Posted

Arrest made after hydraulic rescue pump stolen from temporary Saanich fire hall

VicPD K-9 unit called in to help locate suspect, stolen equipment

Architect plans to revitalize Victoria ‘gateways,’ including Wellburns building

Wood-construction apartments planned for Scott, Wellburn’s buildings

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Most Read