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Donnelly takes another run at council

Some familiar faces will be on the ballot

Some familiar faces are vying for seats on New Westminster city council but at least one former candidate won't be on the ballot.

Neil Powell, president of Voice New Westminster, placed a respectable 11th in the 2008 civic election and was strongly rumoured to be seeking re-election.

He told The Record that he won't be running for city council because of changes to his work and family commitments.

Powell noted that his reason for getting involved with the McBrideSapperton Residents' Association and Voice New Westminster was to make improvements to the city that would improve life for his and other families. If he were to be elected to council, he said it would impact the time he was able to spend with his family and he wouldn't be able to enjoy the rewards of that work.

While it's not in the cards at this time, Powell won't rule out a future run for council.

"It's something that has intrigued me since university days," he said. "It runs in my blood to some degree. My grandmother was a city councillor back in South Africa."

Voice New Westminster, a civic electors group that has fielded candidates in the past two municipal elections, will be endorsing four candidates for city council and four for school board. Those candidates have yet to be officially endorsed, but that's expected to occur by the end of the week.

"We are a membership-based organization. As directors we have a group of people we are going to suggest would be good candidates," Powell said. "At the end of the day, it needs to be approved by the membership."

All of the incumbent councillors - Jonathan Cote, Bill Harper, Jaimie McEvoy, Betty McIntosh, Bob Osterman and Lorrie Williams - have indicated they will seek reelection.

McIntosh said she wouldn't be seeking another term on council if she felt that more councillors showed fiscal restraint with the city's budget. She has voiced concern about budget increases in recent years.

"I really feel that council needs to be more considerate of the tax rates," she said. "It bothers me when I think we could keep the tax rate down a bit."

After being defeated in the 2008 municipal election, former councillor Calvin Donnelly hopes to win back a seat on council this November. He was first elected to council in 1980 and has run in every election since, losing his council seat in the last election and losing several attempts at mayor.

"I haven't missed an election, win or lose," he said. "I try to learn something from not being there."

During the past three years, Donnelly said he's gotten involved with some different organizations in the city, including the Seniors Services Society. He believes that has provided him with a different insight into the needs of the seniors living in New Westminster.

"I have been off (council) for three years - the contact with the public has never gone away," he said.

Donnelly is a familiar presence at Royal City Centre, where he often meets with residents. He said that consultation is something that citizens feel they're missing with members of city council.

"I am not going to badmouth anybody. I think some of the things could be done a little bit different," he said of his reason for seeking re-election.