North

Enterprise mayor, councillor resign

The N.W.T. hamlet's mayor resigned last week in a shroud of mystery, just a few months into his mandate and just a month after one of the hamlet's councillors stepped down.

Former mayor Malcolm MacPhail, former Coun. Barbara Hart no longer in office

Enterprise is known as "the gateway to the N.W.T." due to its close proximity to the Alberta border. Its estimated population in 2018 was 131.

The mayor of Enterprise, N.W.T., resigned last week, just a few months into his mandate.

The community's senior administrative officer (SAO) Tammy Neal confirmed to CBC News that Malcolm MacPhail stepped down as of March 15, as first reported by NNSL.

When asked why, MacPhail told the paper "I'm mostly keeping those reasons to myself."

CBC News was unable to reach MacPhail for comment.

His mysterious decision to step down places McPhail on a growing list in the small border town of mayors who have departed within the past year and a half.

MacPhail was elected in December, narrowly beating Barbara Hart by two votes.

Hart, who went on to serve as a councillor, resigned her position Feb. 9, according to the hamlet's SAO.

In an email to CBC News, Hart said it was "a hard decision to come by."

"In the past 18 months the hamlet has seen three mayors, two elected and one nominated. This has caused in my opinion an unbalanced situation."

Hart added that "nothing was getting done or moving forward."

She declined to address MacPhail's resignation, "as I have not heard his reasons."

'An endless circle of indecisiveness'

Hart also shared part of her resignation letter with CBC News.

While it did not point to a specific issue, she said it had nothing to do with the AWP Industrial Park, which, she wrote, once completed, would "be a benefit to the community."

The industrial park includes a proposed, multimillion-dollar wood pellet plant.

According to a Cabin Radio report last summer, the hamlet was reluctant to reissue a business licence for the project, but eventually did so. It's unclear why Enterprise officials were hesitant.

"I cannot in good faith, sit on a council where opinions are not listened to and regardless of the facts or information, peoples' bias[ed] thoughts cannot be changed or be willing to compromise as a whole," Hart's letter read in part.

"The hardest thing for me to accept is that many decisions made by past councils are always looked at in a negative way. Therefore time and effort is spent on trying to reverse past decisions. 

"We must look forward … the future for those to come after us should see a legacy not an endless circle of indecisiveness. I hope that what you, the council, see for the hamlet during your time on council can be respected by the ones to follow you, and not be questioned over and over and deemed to be fruitless."

Enterprise's SAO says the hamlet's deputy mayor, Michael St Amour, would take over as interim mayor.

CBC News reached out to St Amour and Enterprise's remaining councillors for comment, but did not receive a response by publication time.

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