Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland (centre) receives a lifetime award at 2016 UBCM conference. (Contributed photo)

Alice Maitland’s 42-year reign as Hazelton mayor ends

Maitland was upbeat about the change in Hazelton after Dennis Sterritt elected.

Change is inevitable.

For the time since 1976, Alice Maitland won’t be mayor of the Village of Hazelton.

Maitland was defeated by housing and infrastructure advisor for the Gitksan Government Commission Dennis Sterritt. The vote total was 76-45 for the new mayor-elect.

“We always though it was going to be an uphill battle. [Maitland] is a wonderful lady and a much loved member of the community who’s served tirelessly for 42 years as mayor,” Sterritt said. “[I’m] incredibly excited and a little nervous at the same time.”

Maitland said she wasn’t surprised by the results as she felt it was time for the next generation to take the reins.

“I know that it’s considered as a loss but it really isn’t. I think it’s a change and changes are not always bad,” Maitland said.

“The new mayor is young. While he hasn’t got experience in municipal government, he’s done a lot of administration and he certainly is quite a smart, upcoming guy and I think he will be a good mayor.”

Sterritt said his priorities as mayor will be to improve communication with residents; increasing community involvement in village decision; and focusing on grants applications that provide funding for infrastructure and housing projects.

But his first order of business in office will be to check in with the new council.

“[I’ll be] meeting with the new council and actually talking to them and finding out what their priorities are, and then developing a plan from there,” Sterritt said.

Maitland was upbeat when she spoke with The Interior News on Sunday.

Although she’ll miss her job, Maitland said she’s happy she no longer has to worry about snow plowing, attending board meetings and other mayoral and council duties.

The long-time mayor has no set plans for the future other than to take things day by day.

“If there’s things that I can do politically in the larger community or in this small town, I certainly will be doing them,” Maitland said.

“I’m just going to make sure that I’m a positive force in this community and not somebody that tries to tear down some people that have offered their time and their lives to come in and be the government. I know that they’ll do a good job and maybe better than I did.”

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