A Niagara Regional Councillor and community leader has died

sandy bellows profile

A St. Catharines Regional Councillor has died.

Councillor Sandie Bellows died last night after what is being described as a 'brave battle' with cancer. 

Bellows, who was serving her first term on regional council, served as a councillor for St. Catharines representing the Grantham Ward from 2014 to 2018.

She spent most of her career in sales and business development, including as a senior account executive at Telus. 

Bellows was a public speaker and victims' rights advocate following her horrific 1990 kidnapping, rape and attempted murder. Bellows was saved by a retired OPP officer after being stabbed several times, and raped.

Her kidnapping infront of a credit union in the city when she was only 28 yrs old.

She had been a keynote speaker for many government and law enforcement agencies, including conferences for the Ontario and Canadian Police Chiefs, hostage negotiators, victim services, Canadian American law enforcement agencies, and was invited by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Victims Bill of Rights ceremony.

Bellows was currently serving as the Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission.

The Commission issued a statement on her passing today saying the Minister and the Commission will hold a ceremony to dedicate a special place at Niagara Parks in Sandie’s memory and to celebrate her contributions to Niagara Parks and to Ontario in the near future.

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik issued a statement saying "Our community lost an amazing woman with the passing of Sandie Bellows. A regional councillor & former St. Catharines Councillor, Sandie was hardworking, caring & a genuine team player. All she ever wanted to do was make peoples lives better. She will be missed. RIP Sandie"

St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle also remembering Bellows today saying, "St. Catharines has lost a community leader. Sandie Bellows was a Regional Councillor, but more importantly a champion for St Catharines. She was a person of incredible strength - a survivor who used her experience to advocate victims of sexual violence in Niagara and across Canada."

Bellows leaves behind two sons.

"Sandie Bellows was a remarkable citizen, community leader and friend.  Her brilliance, determination and above all kindness drew so many people to her, including me.  She was my friend, my cheerleader, and my mentor.  I’m devastated for her family, her constituents and for our entire team at The Niagara Parks Commission.  Sandie was one of a kind and she left us way too soon. We will miss her leadership in the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.  The fresh air, humility, and dedication she brought to the Niagara Parks Commission changed the agency for the better.   She has left a lasting legacy on many counts – her courage being among them – so too is the generating station she opened a few short months ago which will be an anchor attraction for Niagara and a key economic driver for Ontario. I will miss Sandie as I know so many others in the Niagara region and across Ontario will as well. Statement from The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries 

"On behalf of The Commission and staff, we would like to express our deepest sympathies to Sandie’s family, especially to her sons Spencer and Colton who were the lights of her life. After joining the Commission in October 2018, Sandie became Chair of Niagara Parks in January 2019.  Under her leadership, Niagara Parks welcomed a record number of visitors and set a new benchmark for revenue during 2019-20.  Sandie also guided the Commission through the unprecedented impacts of COVID while staying focused on delivering projects that were important to Niagara Parks, to the Province and to the tourism industry.  These accomplishments included the redevelopment of Table Rock Centre, engaging with community stakeholders and creating a new attraction through the adaptive re-use of The Niagara Parks Power Station, which was Sandie’s biggest point of pride." Statement from April Jeffs, Vice Chair, and David Adames, CEO of The Niagara Parks Commission