By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly
Two dedicated Fort Chipewyan residents have placed their names forward to fill the Ward 2 seat for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) council.
On February 8, residents of Fort Chipewyan, Fort MacKay and Fort Fitzgerald will cast the final votes for either candidate Scott Flett or candidate Claris Voyageur. (Advance polls were open on January 27 and 28 at the Fort Chipewyan Municipal Contact Office and Fort MacKay RMWB office.)
The announcement for the Ward 2 By-Election was released by the municipality on December 4, 2015, to replace the vacant position after the late Councillor John Chadi passed away at the age of 62 on November 15, 2015.
Voyageur, an active volunteer for 20 years at the Fort Chipewyan Fire Hall, manages the Ayabaskaw Seniors Home – a home owned by the Province under the Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation.
With 28 years of commitment to the position, Voyageur has had many opportunities to work with the provincial government and recognize the demands and needs of her community.
She shared how she’s excited and committed to the election.
“The campaigning, so far, is great,” Voyageur said. “I’m no stranger to the region. I sincerely believe I have the compassion, the ability, and the knowledge to represent all voters equally and fairly.”
Voyageur said she has a strong voice to address the communities concerns.
“I am not afraid to speak and not afraid to work in a collaborative manner,” she said. “Leadership is to recognize the power of the people’s voices and relay their voice.”
Throughout her campaign, she’s shared in an interview on January 21: “The biggest concerns I’m hearing here in Fort Chipewyan is the lack of housing, land and jobs. As for Fort McKay and Fort Fitzgerald, I will be visiting them in the next few days and hearing concerns from them.”
Candidate Flett is a retired Water Technologist for the Alberta Government and has spent his entire life living in Fort Chipewyan. He was a volunteer firefighter in the community for 40 years and was the Deputy Chief before retiring.
He said during his campaigning residents have been addressing a variety of topics.
“Some of the concerns that have been brought to my attention are the water supply for Fort Chipewyan and Fort McKay, roads, more recreation facilities, replacement for aging infrastructure and improper or no consultation on some major projects within the region.”
After spending four years as a Councillor for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, he said he’s ready to commit his time to serve Ward 2 well.
“The life experience I have gained makes me a strong candidate who can make a positive contribution for the betterment of Ward 2 and the RMWB as a whole,” he said.
According to the RMWB’s official Candidates Guide to Municipal Elections, “Candidates running in the February 8, 2016 By-Election for Ward 2 Councillor are running for a term ending October 2017.”
After The Local Authorities Election Act was amended on December 10, 2012, “the term of office for local authorities has changed from three to four years,” as stated in the guide.
The RMWB announced in a January 19th news release that “First Nations Reserves are not part of the Municipality; therefore, any individual who resides on a First Nations Reserve is not eligible to vote in this by-election.”
For a list of acceptable identification and more information about the by-election, please visit rmwb.ca/elections.
– Connect Weekly –