Cathy Kotchea is the new mayor of Fort Liard, taking over from Hillary Deneron, who was elected to the Acho Dene Koe First Nation’s council in April.
Kotchea, who had been the hamlet’s deputy mayor for the past two years, assumed the role on April 15 according to a spokesperson for the NWT’s Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.
Speaking to Cabin Radio, Kotchea said she had been appointed to replace Deneron by fellow hamlet council members.
She has lived in Fort Liard for most of her life and runs the local arts and crafts shop. She also sits on the hamlet’s water advisory panel and district education authority.
“I feel honoured,” she said. “It’s a great compliment, especially if the council believes I am the right person to take the lead.”
Her term will be short as Fort Liard is scheduled to hold a municipal election in December. She said her focus will be continuing work on council’s previously outlined goals.
“With the support that I have from the council, I’m sure that everything will run smoothly until the end of our term,” she said.
Navigating Covid-19 is a priority.
Kotchea said previous mayor Deneron “did a great job and worked hard” to handle the community’s cluster of cases in January.
Kotchea wants to continue on that path.
“I have a meeting coming up,” she said last week, “just to update us on what the plan would be moving forward, getting our younger people vaccinated, and what the plan is overall.”