Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Two for mayor

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Liard (Dec 09/05) - Three people allowed their names to stand for mayor in Fort Liard, but one is no longer seeking the job.

Al Harris said he was too late to formally withdraw his nomination for the Dec. 12 hamlet election.

However, he has since posted notices around town and has informed hamlet council that he doesn't want the office. Recent changes to his job could pose conflicts, he noted.

Harris, general manager for Beaver Enterprises Ltd., said he initially decided to oppose incumbent Dianne Gonet at the behest of several community members who wanted to ensure there wouldn't be acclamation. After he became a candidate, Harris, a hamlet councillor for the past two years, learned that Mike Drake had also entered the race. Knowing that acclamation would no longer occur, and concerned about possible complications relating to restructuring at his workplace, he unsuccessfully tried to remove his name from the ballot.

"There's going to be strong odds of conflict issues existing between myself and business operations in the community, so I didn't feel that was fair to anybody," Harris, an 18-year resident of Fort Liard, explained.

Drake, a social worker who has lived in Fort Liard for a total of seven years, said he wants to see the community's by-laws enforced. The chronic loose dog problem and people who fail to register and insure their four-wheelers must be dealt with, according to Drake.

"Ever since I let myself be known as a candidate everybody is approaching me on this dog issue around town," he said.

The current administration has done "an admirable job," he said, but he thinks he can still improve on accountability.

"I just wanted to get more involved," Drake said of his decision to throw his hat in the ring.

He added that he has served on a number of boards and committees but hasn't waded into politics before.

Gonet said if she is re-elected she wants to continue community and team building and promoting healthy lifestyles, something she undertook during her first term as mayor. She was instrumental in forming the Community Action Team, on which she is the chair.

That group, which includes representatives from various groups and agencies, organized a traditional healing workshop, a youth workshop for actor Dakota House and friends as well as various other initiatives.

"We've definitely seen a lot of positive impacts from that," said Gonet, who has resided in Fort Liard on and off for 10 years.

Representing Fort Liard as a board member on the NWT Association of Communities and sitting on the New Deal for Community Governments committee were other accomplishments that she cited from the past two years.