An Exciting Night

If you needed any proof that every vote is critical, you only need to look at the result from last night’s municipal election in the City of Port Alberni.

Thanks to archives of the Alberni Valley Times and on the City of Port Alberni website, I was able to to find numbers in elections going back to 1993.

Note that I wasn’t able to find complete results from the 2002 Election. If anyone has access to those numbers please do let me know. Also, the 2022 numbers are still preliminary, so may change slightly. Sources are at the bottom of the page. If you see any errors or omissions, please let me know in the comments.

Mayor of Port Alberni

This year’s election was the closest in at least the past 30 years with just 166 votes separating Mayor Sharie Minions and challenger Tom Verbrugge. It also appears to be the first time the winning mayoral candidate has only had one challenger since 1993.

Mayoral votes in City of Port Alberni since 1993.
Click for larger version

Note: 2002 had 3 candidates according to the AVTimes reports at the time, but no separated vote count was published so only two numbers appear here. It is also unclear whether the 1370 votes was for the runner-up, or for both challengers combined.

YearWinnerAll Challengers2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
Votes for Mayor since 1993 – Gillian Trumper was acclaimed in 1993 and 1996
WinnerSharie MinionsSharie MinionsMike RuttanJohn DouglasKen McRaeKen McRaeKen McraeGillian TrumperGillian TrumperGillian Trumper
2ndTom VergruggeDenis SauvéJohn DouglasKen McRaeJen Fisher-BradleyJen Fisher-BradleyDusty MillerPaul Carey
3rdMike RuttanCindy SoldaJen Fisher-BradleyJacques SavardJames Dominic KingWayne Crowley
4thJohn DouglasKevin WrightStacey Gaiga
5thKevin WrightHira Chopra
6thGary RobertsonMaurice Chopin
Mayor vote rank by name


This year continues a historic trend of Port Alberni City Council vote being split between high vote-getters and a battle for the final two or three spots of six seats around the Mayor. This year was especially close with only 180 votes separating 4th and 8th places.

2002 is missing the middle candidates numbers as they were not published in the AVTimes at the time.

Votes for City Council by rank. Click for Larger.
Votes by Rank since 1993
1stCharles MealeyDebbie HaggardDenis SauvéCindy SoldaCindy SoldaCindy SoldaHira ChopraDonna BrettDonna BrettD.M. Brett
2ndDebbie HaggardCindy SoldaDan WashingtonRob ColeJohn DouglasHira ChopraAmanda LordHira ChopraJohn McNabbH.A. Anderson
3rdCindy SoldaDan WashingtonSharie MinionsDan WashingtonJack McLemanIke PattersonCindy SoldaDan WashingtonHira ChopraK. Coupland
4thDustin DameHelen PoonRon PaulsonJack McLemanIke PattersonCharles MealeyCharles MealeyKen McRaeGeorge ColussiJ.C. McNabb
5thJohn DouglasRon PaulsonJack McLemanHira ChopraHira ChopraKenn WhitemanLyle PriceChris GibsonTommy SimmonsH. Nederland
6thTodd PatolaRon CorbeilChris AlemanyWendy KerrKenn WhitemannJack McLemanIke PattersonCharles MealeyJack ThornburghT.F. Simmons
7thRon PaulsonHira ChopraWendy KerrDavid OsciennyGary RobertsonAnne GraboskiJack McLemanDon WalkerRob FiorasoE. Rusel
8thDan WashingtonSeva DhaliwalPenny CoteAngie BlakeAlice SchofferPaul Elder?Anne GrabowskiLeo SorensenF. Kutschera
Vote rank by name.


Participation in municipal elections has varied widely over the past 10 elections spanning 29 years. After the hotly contested election of 1999 which came with the approval of the new Arena, turnout dropped from 57.5% in 1999 all the way dow to a low of 27.8% in 2005, nearly as low as 26% mark in 1996 when Gillian Trumper was acclaimed a second time. It recovered some in the following years to a high of 46.4% in 2014 but has now dropped again to just 33.3% of voters participating in the 2022 election.

It’s also worth noting that after a number of terms with eligible electors hovering around 13,500, this year we had more eligible electors in the City of Port Alberni than at any time since at least 1996 and possibly longer.

Nearly 15,000 people were eligible to vote in this year’s election.

How do we keep municipal electors engaged?

Turnout, Eligible Voters and Ballots Cast in Port Alberni since 1999
YearEligibleBallots CastPercent

Perhaps one of the things that the results over the decades tell us is people come to vote in response to big issues, and a contentious mayoral competition. In that way, perhaps this election is an outlier.

Disclosure: I supported Mayor Minions in the past two elections.

Sources and News clippings

City of Port Alberni Website (PDF):

Alberni Valley Times (through

PS. “Freak snowfall in November” in 1993… this year of 2022, we voted in a haze of wildfire smoke and historically hot temperatures.

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