Port Alberni city councillor Helen Poon addresses her peers at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, campaigning for a directorship with the provincial organization. UBCM PHOTO

Alberni city councillor elected to UBCM executive

Port Alberni city councillor Helen Poon has been elected as a director-at-large by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

UBCM’s annual week-long convention brings elected officials from municipalities across British Columbia together, offering opportunities to meet with various provincial ministers, lobby for issues important to delegates’ respective communities, listen to speakers and attend workshops. Eight people ran for five director-at-large seats, including four from the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC).

During Poon’s campaign speech she said she is in a unique position to serve as UBCM director because she has both urban and rural experience. “I was born and raised in Vancouver, and trained as a lawyer in England,” Poon said. “More recently, I have been spending much of my time in Port Alberni.

“I have lived, been educated, worked and invested in both urban and rural municipalities. I feel that I am in a unique position to bridge the gap between rural and urban municipalities,” she added.

“UBCM has a big divide between rural vs. urban issues. I get perspective on issues the cities aren’t going to agree on that rural communities think are very important, and vice versa,” she said in an interview following her election.

“I tried to express my thoughts on the current state of the province and how other municipalities can unite and work on problems we all share. My reason for running as a director was to do what I do best: bring people together. It doesn’t have to do with Port Alberni specifically but it’s nice to have a Port Alberni voice at the table.”

The directorship will mean an extra 10-12 days’ commitment per year plus some additional travel on top of Poon’s role as one of Port Alberni’s city councillors.

Poon is one of four representatives from Vancouver Island elected to the UBCM: District of Sooke mayor Maya Tait was acclaimed president of the UBCM at this year’s annual convention after serving last year as first vice-president. Nanaimo city councillor Ben Geselbracht was also elected as a director-at-large, as was Claire Moglove of Campbell River.

A total of 13 positions are elected to the UBCM executive, including president, first vice-president and five directors. As directors, they will all be responsible for lobbying the provincial government to act on UBCM resolutions.

This is Poon’s second year at the UBCM. Last year, prior to being elected in Port Alberni, Poon attended a reception at the convention in Whistler at her own expense to see what it was all about. “It was a brief visit but it allowed me to meet a number of elected officials last year. That experience allowed me to get a head start (in 2019),” she said.

Poon has also taken two personal road trips around B.C. to visit different municipalities, meet their elected officials and see how they are tackling issues in their communities. “I like that networking aspect. I’m committed to learn more on how to do my work as a councillor well.”

Next year’s UBCM convention will take place in Victoria from Sept. 21-25.

— With files from Nicholas Pescod, Nanaimo News Bulletin

Just Posted

Celebrated storyteller Mike Downie brings Secret Path to Port Alberni

Presentation takes place at Alberni District Secondary School on Oct. 25

Canadian folk singer returns to Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

Seth Anderson prepares to release latest album, We Could Be

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Most Read