The unofficial results are in, and former city councillor Sharie Minions has been named Port Alberni’s newest mayor.
More than 6,000 people turned out at the polls. Minions garned 32 percent of the mayoral vote, with 2,003 votes. Denis Sauvé came in second with 1,472 votes, while incumbent Mike Ruttan came in third with 1,181 votes.
“I’m thrilled. I think this sends a really strong message about the direction the community wants us to go,” said the new mayor-elect. “My campaign was very clear about shifting our direction and starting to look at new options for Port Alberni.”
Former mayor Mike Ruttan thanked everyone who put their name forward for consideration for public office this election.
“It takes courage, and I applaud your efforts,” he said.
He also congratulated the new mayor-elect and council.
“You’ve worked hard, organized well, and I wish you the very best as you work to move our community forward over the next four years,” he added. “To those who supported me, thank you for your hard work and dedication to our city. I appreciate your tireless efforts.
“Let’s all support our new Council as they work to improve our city for our community’s benefit.”
Ruttan was not able to provide a comment immediately, as he said he had not had any communications from city hall, and wasn’t able to confirm the results until 10 p.m. through the Civic Info website. Ruttan said he had expected that someone from City Hall would have contacted him to confirm the result.
Six city councillors have also been named for the 2018-2022 term. Incumbents Dan Washington and Ron Paulson have been re-elected, and are joined by Debbie Haggard (who received the most votes, at 54 percent), Cindy Solda, Helen Poon and Ron Corbeil.
Chris Alemany was the only running incumbent who was not re-elected. He said he believes it may have been because of his “Facebook incident”—the one where he was caught using a fake Facebook account to gain access to the Facebook page AV Chatter Box.
“And you know what? That’s okay,” he said on Saturday. “I’m grateful for the chance to have served the community. I’m going to enjoy a bit of time with my family. It is fair because it’s democracy, and that’s the way it is.”
New Port Alberni resident Helen Poon said she was “a little bit surprised” by her election.
“But I’ve had very good support throughout the campaign period,” she added. “I think what I was promising was not that much different than what everyone else was promising. I have proven myself in my ability to take a vision and see a project through to completion, and I think people saw that at the Kingsway.”
The city’s results were delayed a bit on Saturday, with final numbers released after 9 p.m., and city CAO Tim Pley said this was due to the ballots from “special voting opportunities” that were held at various hospitals and care facilities around town.
“That’s why it took a bit of extra time,” he explained.
Final results from Alberni District Secondary School’s Student Vote were also released on Saturday, with Sharie Minions taking the victory with 125 votes. Mike Ruttan came in second, with 77 votes.
Councillors elected by the students were Cindy Solda (143 votes), Helen Poon (140 votes), Michael Moore (127 votes), Debbie Haggard (113 votes), Helen Robertson (93 votes) and Ron Corbeil (84 votes).
— with files from Mike Youds