Natuashish chief puts focus on housing, health

The newly re-elected chief of the Innu community of Natuashish says he wants to move forward with his vision for the community.

Following a narrow win in a contentious election, the chief of the Innu community of Natuashish in northern Labrador says he wants to move forward with his vision for the community.

Simeon Tshakapesh, seen speaking during a meeting in Natuashish in 2010, was re-elected in Friday's community election. (CBC )

Simeon Tshakapesh won Friday's election by just nine votes over his nearest challenger, former chief Prote Poker.

Tshakapesh said one of his top priorities is addressing problems with homes built in Natuashish almost a decade ago, when the former residents of Davis Inlet moved to the new community. Tshakapesh said mould problems are prevalent.

"The homes that we live in today are totally unacceptable and they are not up to standard," Tshakapesh told CBC News.

"I have been asking Indian Affairs to provide me the inspection of these homes, whether these homes are being passed by code and they haven’t done that for the past two years."

Tshakapesh said his priorities also include developing new economic opportunities for Natuashish residents.

"We are going to extend the runway to get a bigger planes," he said in an interview.

Other priorities include education and health care, including more stable medical care and new equipment, including a new X-ray machine.

Friday's election was called after the Federal Court of Canada determined there were significant problems with a 2010 vote in Natuashish, including poor controls over ballots, a lack of scrutineers, and an incident in which a ballot box had temporarily been left in Tshakapesh's custody rather than a returning officer.