Enterprise Mayor Sandra McMaster resigns less than 5 months into job

Sandra McMaster has resigned as mayor of Enterprise, according to the woman who has now taken her place.

The decision to step down comes less than five months after being elected, defeating incumbent Michael St. Amour with just four votes earlier this year. Barb Hart, the deputy mayor who has now become the hamlet's mayor, said McMaster handed in her resignation at Tuesday's council meeting.

McMaster did not respond to calls and messages from CBC News.

It's not the first time the small hamlet has faced political turmoil. Shortly after McMaster's win in February, three newly elected councillors decided not to take the oath of office. Another sitting councillor, Jim Dives also resigned. They all cited a lack of confidence in McMaster.

Hart said in the resignation letter McMaster said stepping down was the best decision for her because she didn't feel supported by other council members. Hart said the resignation has created challenges for the council, but they remain focused on the needs of residents.

"We want to work together to address all the goals and concerns and needs of the residents and try to start moving forward. I mean, it's been a very difficult year for everybody," she said.

Hart said it is a privilege to represent Enterprise. She couldn't say, however, if she'd run for mayor in an election slated to happen in December. For now she wants everyone to work in harmony for the betterment of the hamlet.

"I just believe in this community, and I believe in the residents," she said. "We've always been a very strong community, and I know we can get that back."

Jim Dives, newly made Enterprise's deputy mayor, says he's not surprised by Sandra McMaster's mayoral resignation this week.
Jim Dives, newly made Enterprise's deputy mayor, said he's not surprised by Sandra McMaster's mayoral resignation this week. (Carla Ulrich/CBC)

Dives, who resigned back in February, later regained his council seat in a spring by-election. He is now taking over the position of deputy mayor. He said McMaster's resignation was not a surprise to him because she'd only attended one meeting in the last three months.

"She claimed everyone was being mean and nasty to her," he said. "But you get what you give."

Dives said the hamlet has faced a lot of devastation over the past year and he's also ready to focus on addressing community issues moving forward. That includes a delay related his own property.

Dives said he wasn't insured when he lost his home in last year's wildfire. He's been waiting for a contamination report but everything has been held up because of issues within the hamlet council.

"They're all things that council is trying to work on," he said. "The work isn't progressing as quickly as what I would like."

Despite these setbacks, Dives emphasized the council's commitment to exploring solutions for residents' housing problems and achieving as much as possible during the interim period.