Don Roberts has plenty of competition in his bid for an eighth straight two-year term as chief councillor of the Kitsumkalum First Nation, including Nicole Halbauer who ran unsuccessfully as the NDP candidate against BC Liberal Ellis Ross in the Skeena riding in last fall’s provincial election.
James Cooley, Janice Robinson and Troy Sam were also nominated for the top job as Kitsumkalum members prepare to go to the polls Feb. 24. Robinson and Sam also ran for the chief councillor’s spot in the 2019 band council elections.
Halbauer and Sam are also among 22 people vying for one of the seven councillor seats up for grabs. Kitsumkalum election rules allow for a person to seek election to more than one position.
Sam is also an incumbent band councillor and the other six incumbents are also running again — Cynthia Bohn, Wayne Bolton, Kenneth Brown, Aaron Horner, Kathy Wesley and Lisa Wesley.
Matthew Bartlett, Heather Bohn, James Bohn, Warren Bolton, William Christiansen, Michelle Horner, Armin Musterer, Neil Okabe, William Osborne, Marcel Robinson, Christina Sam-Stanley, Herbert Spalding, Jeanette Spalding and Charlene Webb round out the councillor candidate list.
Candidates were nominated Jan. 13 and have up until Jan. 17 to withdraw.
Halbauer, who is the chair of the Coast Mountain College board, also figures in nominators and seconders this election by being the seconder for nine of the councillor candidates and the nominator for one.
Kitsumkalum’s population stands at approximately 800 people with members living at the main village just west of Terrace or off-reserve.
Kitsumkalum, along with the Kitselas First Nation, approved of a treaty agreement in principle with the federal and provincial governments in 2013, setting out the broad strokes of cash, land and governance to form a final treaty. Preparations toward a final treaty had expected to solidify this year but the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled progress.
Kitsumkalum has continued to press for recognition of maritime rights down to the mouth of the Skeena River, broadening out to include areas of operation of the Prince Rupert port.
In the last years it has expanded its rock quarry operation between the village site and the Kalum River by taking advantage of a CN spur line branching off of the main line to develop an area for loading and unloading of materials.