(THE NEWS/files)Chief Susan Miller at swearing in ceremony in 2013.

Katzie voting in new council in three weeks

Two people seeking top spot for reserve near Pitt Meadows

Katzie First Nation will have a new council on Feb. 22, when three councillors and a chief will be elected to run the 400-plus person band.

Two people will be running for the position of chief, incumbent Susan Miller, who was first elected in 2013, and challenger Grace Cunningham.

Four other people were nominated to run for chief, but they declined their nominations.

Another seven people are running for three seats on council for the two-year term. They are: Jay Bailey, Leslie Bailey, Rick Bailey, Peter James, David Kenworthy, Coleen Pierre and Eileen Pierre.

Rick Bailey and Peter James are currently on council.

James said last week he’s seeking another term because “the work’s not done … working on improving the health of our people. Everbody deserves to have a good life,” he said.

“I hope the community will continue to have faith in me to do this incredible job,” added Chief Susan Miller.

Coleen Pierre is also seeking a seat on counci, after serving previously for five terms in the 1990s.

“I’ve always been involved in politics,” she said.

One project she’d like to ensure continues is the gatekeeper program, for which Katzie members man vehicle gates on the reserve 24/7 to ensure trouble makers don’t get access.

The barriers on all road access points were installed in September as a means of limiting access to residents only and controlling crime.

With three of the gates being manned 24 hours a day and the other two locked during the night, the gate keepers can decide who can get into the reserve, with a list of names and photos of the undesirables nearby for reference.

Before the gates were installed, anyone could, and did drive on to the reserve, often leading to late-night hijinks and screeching of tires and racing vehicles.

• Hours for voting will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the main reserve next to Pitt Meadows. But people can also vote on Katzie’s other reserves on Barnston Island and in Langley, or by mail or proxy vote.

There is a total of 406 eligible voters.