The Dempster Highway looking toward Tsiigehtchic and the Mackenzie River. Stephan Pietzko/Dreamstime
The NWT’s minister of municipal and community affairs has officially notified Tsiigehtchic that the GNWT believes the charter community should be managed by an external administrator while it transitions to a hamlet.
On May 24, Tsiigehtchic voted to become a hamlet, which will allow the community to have both a First Nations council and a separate municipal council.
As a charter community, Tsiigehtchic currently has a First Nations council that in effect doubles as a municipal council. Only First Nations members can seek election to that council, whereas in a hamlet, all eligible residents can run and vote for municipal office.
Minister Shane Thompson’s notice on Thursday starts a 30-day consultation period before external administration would come into force.
Under the Charter Communities Act, Thompson can release a council from its duties and appoint an administrator, a move he called a “critical step” to help with the process.
The administrator appointed by Thompson will help Tsiigehtchic with the transition from charter to hamlet, the territory stated, and will help develop a plan for the incoming municipal government during the transition.
“Providing this direct support is an important step towards the Government of the Northwest Territories’ goal of building stronger relationships with community governments,” said the GNWT in a news release.
The territorial government said Tsiigehtchic will formally switch from charter to hamlet status by August. It’s unclear how long the administrator will remain in place before elections are held for a hamlet council and First Nations council.