Councillor Natasha Kulikowski, one of two mayoral candidates in this year’s municipal election, has three priorities should she be elected mayor: the economy, the cost of living and the price of energy.
Kulikowski said she wants to ensure there are enough opportunities for everyone in town to work.
“Whether it is in large industry, tourism, or a small business, we need to keep focused on the economy and creating a diverse economy, ultimately making sure everyone has opportunities to work in town,” she said.
The cost of living and energy is another area she would like to tackle.
“Although we have this amazing quality of life here and we get to do all of these amazing things, but in order to actually live and stay here it costs a lot,” said Kulikowski. “I’d like to be able to work with other levels of government in order to find ways for homeowners to actually see savings in their homes, as well as working with them and industry to find ways to make energy less expensive.”
Kulikowski has been living, working and volunteering in Inuvik for 17 years. Seven years ago, she realized she wanted to see some changes in the community, so she got involved with town council to make it happen.
Although she ran for a councillor position, she lost by just two votes.
“I continued to volunteer after that, and then decided to run for a councillor spot in the next election, which I won,” she said. “I knew at some point I wanted to be mayor as well, be the face of town and be out there representing Inuvik, so this is my opportunity to do that.”
Kulikowski, who has been a town councillor for three-and-a-half years, said she hopes to continue the work the current administration and council have done to find a secure source of energy.
One major issue Inuvik is currently facing is the precarious fuel situation, as the Ikhil gas well is depleting.
“I think the current administration and council has been working really hard to try and find solutions for that, and there is no easy solution. The talks with Inuvik Gas and the Inuvialuit and the research they just did, I think it’s important to keep those communications open,” she said. “I don’t think there’s one promise I could make that could happen – it is going to take a group effort from the region.”
When she’s not volunteering or running a sporting event, Kulikowski works in the finance department of the Inuvik Regional Hospital.
“I’m young, I’m energetic, I’m hardworking, and I’m approachable – if anyone wants to talk about anything, I’m always willing to chat,” she said. “I’m a team player … this role is about working with so many people that you have to be the team player.”
Kulikowski added that she hopes everyone will get out and cast a vote next month.
“I really, really encourage everyone to get out and vote,” she said. “Especially in this election, with everyone being acclaimed, I think it’s really important that everyone get out there and at least cast a vote.”
The other mayoral candidate is Vince Sharpe.