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Malcolm MacPhail was elected the new mayor of the Hamlet of Enterprise on Dec. 14, and he will be sworn in during a ceremony in early January.
Photo courtesy of Malcolm MacPhail

The Hamlet of Enterprise has elected a new mayor.

Malcolm MacPhail will be sworn into the position in early January after winning a two-person race during the NWT-wide hamlet elections on Dec. 14.

MacPhail collected 22 votes, just two votes ahead of Barbara Hart.

His one-year term runs from Jan. 4, 2021, to Jan. 3, 2022, which will complete the two-year term of former mayor Brandon Kimble, who resigned in April.

Since then, Craig McMaster has been acting mayor.

On Dec. 14, three new councillors were also elected – Darren Sopel, Allan Flamand and Barbara Hart – out of a field of five candidates. They will serve two-year terms beginning on Jan. 4.

MacPhail is looking forward to his new role.

“Enterprise has a ton of potential and we’re going to make a list to see what’s lacking around here and what isn’t, and then do some cost-benefit analysis to see whether or not we can address some of them on a priority basis,” he said.

This will be the first time for MacPhail on Enterprise hamlet council.

However, he noted he served on council in Fort Simpson in the 1970s and 1980s, and he was once president of the Hay River-Enterprise Corridor Association, which was based in Hay River.

MacPhail, who is in his 70s, has lived in Enterprise for about three years, after retiring to the community from Fort Simpson.

“I retired here in Enterprise for a lot of reasons,” he said, noting he likes the people and the community.

“But I was starting to get exasperated with the way some council decisions were being made around here, especially in the capital area,” he said of his decision to run for mayor. “Things were happening and we didn’t know anything about them until after the fact.”

MacPhail said he would like more transparency and accountability when it comes to hamlet buildings and mobile equipment.

“In our small communities, we don’t have the expertise in a lot of cases in areas that involve a lot of money, like capital. We don’t have the expertise to make some qualified decisions sometimes,” he said, adding he believes there has to be a fair amount of research before the hamlet starts building or buying things.

MacPhail noted that his work in Fort Simpson involved infrastructure and maintenance with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.

“I’ve got a background that is sort of lacking sometimes in our small communities and I just thought that it was time to put up or shut up,” he said. “And I made a few observations to various officials, and this is where I am because of my mouth.”

Over the years, MacPhail has also lived in a number of other NWT communities – Fort Smith, Yellowknife and Hay River.

Some of the other issues that he would like to address as mayor include the cost of energy in Enterprise, streamlining hamlet administration, and providing more recreational opportunities for seniors and youth.

“Seniors and youth are a big topic of conversation around here,” he said. “Our youth really don’t have any place to go. So we need a gym of sorts or something along that line, and I’ve got some ideas there that I’ll be presenting to the new council when we get there.”

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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