Helen Poon, a newcomer to Port Alberni, will run in the 2018 municipal election. ANNA WOLFF PHOTO

Newcomer Helen Poon declares intent to run for Port Alberni city council

Helen Poon has announced her intention to run for city council of Port Alberni in the 2018 civic election.

Dissatisfied with the status quo and always pursuing a vision of “what could be” with absolute conviction and the grit and skills to back that up, Poon says she is just the type of talent that Port Alberni needs at this juncture of its history.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Poon has long been seeking a diversity of perspectives and unique ways to contribute through her legal training in England and entrepreneurial ventures since a young age. In six short years, Poon cemented herself in the Vancouver business community as a prominent player in the affordable housing arena. Understanding that social problems are often rooted in economic disparity, her determination and sense of community made her a natural in founding and managing affordable housing for Vancouver’s most vulnerable population.

Her passions have led her in the affordable housing sector where few would dare venture: she touts a high level of awareness and empathy for social problems.

Entrepreneurial spirit and the love for the Pacific Northwest has sent Poon on many adventures in her beloved classic cars, searching on her many trips over the years for a place that would welcome her with open arms.

Last year, during a happenstance visit to Port Alberni—moved by both its beauty and an economic vision of what this town could be—Helen became the owner operator of Port Alberni’s Kingsway Hotel and Pub. She relocated to Port Alberni and has transformed the Kingsway within one year from a run-down “has-been” dive into a lively community entertainment hub that is now a popular spot in town on the weekends for both locals and tourists alike.

Poon said if elected, she would operate with logic and reason on council.

“I have the ability to identify a project with strong vision, secure investments and lead it to its completion,” she said. “I don’t give up until the job is done.”

“I can access a large number of investors globally to transform Port Alberni into not only a world-class tourism destination but also one with a good mix of heavy and light industries, services, and retail economies. My effectiveness and persuasion for regional economic revival comes from a thorough understanding of different cultures and the ability to listen to all perspectives. People appreciate me for my transparency and open-mindedness.”

Poon said council has been “too focused on a single industry”, and needs to advertise the city as a destination for tourism. “For that, we need people who have experience in business. I have experience in business, particularly ones that cater to tourism: hotels, pubs, rental apartments, and construction.”

Poon said the city needs to beautify uptown—“We need to give a good first impression”—attract more tourism, place more emphasis on Uptown as a walkable, vibrant area and redevelop critical zones such as the waterfront.

“We need to remember that tourist-oriented development is not just for tourists, it can also help our local economy through construction and services,” she said. “This will improve our infrastructure and quality of life.”

Building infrastructure and planning in a transparent and easy to understand manner will be the basis of Poon’s election platform.

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