Current city councillor Sharie Minions has announced her intention to run for mayor in the 2018 election. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Current city councillor Sharie Minions has announced her intention to run for mayor in the 2018 election. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Sharie Minions announces mayoral run for Port Alberni

Current city councillor welcomes a shift in focus

Before a crowd of supporters on Tuesday, June 12, Port Alberni city councillor Sharie Minions announced her intention to seek the top office in the next civic election.

Minions grew up in Port Alberni, where she now lives with her husband and four children. She is a successful entrepreneur and is finishing up her first term on council.

“Deciding to run for mayor was not an easy decision for me,” she told people at the event at Victoria Quay. “As I struggled with whether or not to put my name up against the current mayor’s, I kept coming back to one overriding fact. The mayor and I see vastly different futures for this community.”

Her vision is for a vibrant, welcoming waterfront community that values all people and is able to find balance between good jobs and quality of life. She believes there can be a new way of doing business, a new set of priorities and a new future for Port Alberni, but it will require a shift in focus.

Port Alberni, like so many other communities across Canada, was built on resource-based industries, Minions acknowledged. But now Port Alberni needs to begin to create a new path forward, because the industrial days are not likely to repeat themselves.

“Trying to fit the model of the past into a changing future will leave Port Alberni exposed to global economic risks that are outside of our ability to control,” she said. “We must adapt, and with the right leadership in place, I know that we can.”

Minions has a new vision for the town she has called home for 30 years. Attracting new mills cannot be the sole focus for our city, she said, because new mills coming in will not provide the thousand plus jobs they did in the ’70s. They will not bring the Valley back to its glory days. The world is a changing place and Minions believes Port Alberni must look at ways to adapt to this new world and diversify the economy if it is going to thrive.

“We need to be having a conversation about how we could support new and existing industries in a way that also balances quality of life,” she said. “We absolutely need to support the creation of jobs, but we must not overlook the importance of creating a community people choose to live in.”

By working together, Minions said she believes Port Alberni can create a bright future for the community where economy and quality of life do not need to compete—one where good jobs and environmental sustainability go hand in hand and where small businesses thrive and storefronts are full. As a small business owner, she knows this well.

She said the community needs a strong leader to help create a shift in focus that will result in a strong, resilient community.

“I am that leader,” she said on Tuesday. “I will be your voice.”