Helen Poon, Port Alberni city councillor for the 2018-22 term, also was the 2020 BC Liberal candidate for Mid Island- Pacific Rim. (FILE PHOTO)

Helen Poon, Port Alberni city councillor for the 2018-22 term, also was the 2020 BC Liberal candidate for Mid Island- Pacific Rim. (FILE PHOTO)

Port Alberni city councillor Helen Poon says she won’t seek re-election

Pre-election phase has begun for B.C. municipal election slated for Oct. 15

Helen Poon has decided not to run again for Port Alberni City Council.

Poon is coming to the end of her first term as a city councillor, and announced on Tuesday, July 27 that she will not seek re-election. “It has been both an honour and an immense privilege to serve the people of Port Alberni,” she said in a statement released on her Helen Poon – Councillor, City of Port Alberni Facebook page.

“I am grateful for the trust that was placed in me. I am so proud of the work that council, staff and our community has accomplished over the last four years, including the relationships we have built with all levels of government, the relationships we built with First Nations people and governments, both professional and personal…” she wrote.

Poon said she is proud of the work council did to facilitate more housing developments, and to acquire the Somass lands “to secure a different future for our community.

“There are so many good reasons to be on Port Alberni City Council during this monumental time in our history,” Poon said in her statement. She said that is one reason she voted in favour of raising salaries for council and mayoral positions starting in 2023: “to bring those salaries up to the provincial average for communities our size, and make it easier for working people to participate on council.

“We will continue to need leaders who bring a diversity of perspectives to council.”

Poon said she intends to stay in Port Alberni once her council term is finished. “When I came to Port Alberni five years ago, I saw the potential here and fell in love with the community,” she said.

Poon intends to focus on the private sector and finish some projects she shelved while sitting on council, which includes renovations to the Kingsway Hotel and Pub. She purchased the hotel and pub in 2018 and was elected to city council later that year.

READ: Port Alberni councillor apologizes for unpermitted renovations

Poon came under fire in April 2020 when both the city and WorkSafeBC issued stop work orders on renovation work in the pub. It was discovered the work was being done without proper permits or inspections.

In January 2022 Poon apologized publicly at a city council meeting, and council started working on a code of conduct for elected officials shortly afterward.

Poon is the second city councillor to say they won’t be running again for the October election: Ron Corbeil has also said he will give up his seat, leaving two vacant spaces on council.

All other councillors and Mayor Sharie Minions have said they intend to seek re-election. The municipal election takes place Oct. 15, 2022.

BC Election 2022Municipal electionPort Alberni