Joe Alphonse will serve a seventh consecutive two-year term as Chief of Tl’etinqox (Anaham) First Nation.
Alphonse was re-elected after voters went to the polls Monday, Feb. 22 at Tl’etinqox School west of Williams Lake.
“My phone started going off like crazy, so I figured the counts were done,” Alphonse told Black Press Media Monday night.
Results for chief were confirmed shortly after 9 p.m. in a Facebook live stream of the count on Tl’etinqox Government’s Facebook page, which Alphonse said he was not tuned into at the time.
Alphonse received 116 votes out of 348 cast that day. Runner-up Ashton Harry (Cooper) received 72 votes.
“You never think you’re going to run for seven terms consecutively,” Alphonse said.
“I’m really honoured that the community has a lot of faith and trust in me, and I keep moving forward and try to keep our community in a good light. We have our struggles and challenges, but if there’s any community you want to represent, it’s Tle’tinqox, so I’m thrilled and happy and honoured all at the same time.”
The election also saw 12 councillors elected for a two-year term with the addition of five new ones.
Elected were Alana Bobby, Eleanor Cooper, Harvey Dick, Melanie Frank (Johnny), Peyal Gilpin (Laceese), Cecil Grinder, Paul Grinder, Dale Hance, Ashton Harry (Cooper), Rosaline Harry, Tyron Harry and Leslie Stump.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in Tl’etinqox undertaking several community lockdowns, Alphonse said approximately $16.5 million projects are nearing completion, including their soon to open gas bar, Chilcotin River Trading.
A daycare at Tl’etinqox was recently approved, which Alphonse said they would be looking at moving forward on as well as further building their horse program.
He said there remains a long wishlist within the community, which is at a place now where they can continue to keep planning and developing, allowing their community to grow after many fiscal challenges when he was first elected 12 years ago.
“Housing is always number one on the list and our continued negotiation with Canada and B.C. for some needed services such as tribal police,” Alphonse said.
“And we’re keeping in mind that we’re still operating during this time of pandemic, so we’re not out of the woods there, so that continued health for our people is very much high on our priority list.”