Beaumont woman fails in bid to win back council seat after utility bill fallout

Sabrina Powers is seen in a photo taken in November 2017. Global News

It was Sabrina Powers’ second bid to serve on Beaumont’s town council in just four months but unlike the October vote, the candidate did not emerge victorious at the ballot box on Monday.

Unofficial results for the council position byelection were posted to the town’s website on Monday night and showed Steven vanNieuwkerk beat out the other seven candidates by capturing 410 votes. Powers finished fourth with 155 votes.

In November, Powers announced she was resigning from town council because of a technicality. She said she found out she owed money to the Town of Beaumont on Nov. 8. According to the Local Authority Elections Act, all money owed to a municipality must be paid in full by nomination day, which was Sept. 16.

READ MORE: Beaumont woman unsure whether she’ll run in byelection after resigning over unpaid bills

Watch below: On Nov. 19, 2017, Sarah Kraus filed this report about why a byelection is being planned to fill a vacated seat in Beaumont only weeks after the municipal election was held.

Click to play video: 'Beaumont councillor’s resignation over unpaid bill triggers byelection' Beaumont councillor’s resignation over unpaid bill triggers byelection
Beaumont councillor’s resignation over unpaid bill triggers byelection – Nov 19, 2017

Powers said when she realized her mistake, she had the option to either take the issue to council which could dismiss it, but would have a three-year window in which to revisit the issue, take it to the Court of Queen’s Bench and have a judge decide what should happen or submit a resignation, resulting in a byelection. She said her colleagues asked her to resign and so she decided to make that choice even though she did not have to.

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“I chose to resign and really, if you think about it, if all your colleagues asked you to resign, what would you do?” Powers told Global News in November. “All I could think was, ‘Oh my God, this was an honest mistake but will people see it that way and how is this going to be perceived by the town or residents and I really hope that people understand that it was an honest mistake.’

“I did have outstanding payments for a utility bill and I had a little bit owing towards my property taxes as well,” she said at the time. “I paid my bill immediately — we’re talking within 10 minutes of my finding out.”

VanNieuwkerk also ran for council in the October election. Most recently, he has been working as general manager at an environmental and industrial services company. He campaigned on a platform focused on improving community engagement, improving the value Beaumont residents get for their tax dollars and to improve regional co-operation.

–With files from Karen Bartko and Sarah Kraus

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