WINCHESTER – Brad Pinch officially filed his nomination papers for deputy-mayor Fri., July 27 hours before the deadline entering the race for the last uncontested position in the Township of North Dundas. Pinch, a father of three and a 19-year resident of Winchester, will go head-to-head with longtime councillor Al Armstrong.
Originally from a small town in Nova Scotia, Pinch spends much of his time travelling coast-to-coast as a business developer with NetFore Systems, a company that creates software for small municipalities. His extensive travels and interactions with small-town municipal officials and administrators, coupled with his upbringing in a rural setting, he believes that the lifestyle offered in townships like North Dundas are not only second to none but they can also be trendsetters for the province.
“After seeing all the municipalities that I have I think it’s possible to help North Dundas grow to become an example community in Ontario,” said Pinch.
Prior to his work with NetFore he spent four years at the National Research Council working with small businesses and he has personally played the role of owner and proprietor himself several times. It’s that experience that he believes gives him a special insight into the issue facing local business owners.
“Working with innovation in business, I really see where it’s possible to make small changes that have a massive effect. As a person who has run a small business in town, and a number of others, I have a true understanding of what it’s like and the need for full transparency,” he said.
Asked if rules and regulations were bogging down opportunities and expansion, Pinch offered a different take.
“I don’t know that there’s too much red tape as much as it is managing the market size. Being able to get more people in front of your product and small business is important and a big part of that is transportation. Put together a public transportation system so that businesses grow,” he said.
While some people may believe the idea is far-fetched for this region, Pinch pointed to examples in Lloydminster, Alberta and Kentville, Nova Scotia, similar sized municipalities where small bus services run multiple times a day from one end of the community to the other.
“They’re of the same ilk where 15 per cent to 20 per cent [of the population] are in town and the rest are scattered around. When we try to find people to pick strawberries, work on farms or general labourers in rural places, transportation is an issue,” said Pinch. “We’d have four times as many people at our farmers markets if they could actually get there.”
He also pointed out that essential services like community food banks and House of Lazarus would also benefit from a public transit system.
“We have a lot more homeless and people that live below the poverty line than we care to admit. Having them able to access those services is essential,” he said.
Any proposed system would have to be financially responsible but Pinch believes that consulting with local experts like WUBS Transit could go a long way in designing a viable service.
Another key issue for Pinch is the current state of the landfill and moving towards sustainable waste management.
“Communities in Nova Scotia and B.C. have compost programs that actually make money. It also deflects about 35 per cent of waste away from landfills,” said Pinch. “Having lived in a smaller community in Nova Scotia and seeing how they manage their landfills, they aren’t filling them as fast as we are. Just opening another landfill and just filling it with stuff doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. We have a great recycling program and I applaud that, but I think we can take a look at other communities that are our size and see what they’re doing and implement some of those ideas.”
Pinch knows that these are large issues that will require significant investment from the rest of council and the people of North Dundas but he views himself as an energetic problem solver with creative solutions.
He also realizes that he would be but one voice at the table and that patience and co-operation are key to achieving great things.
“I don’t think I can change the world in one day but I’m a hard working individual. I truly believe utilizing the experience of others makes a difference in your growth. I don’t pretend that I know the answer to everything but I like actually going out and talking to people that may be able to help us get to that answer,” offered Pinch. “We can be more united, more sustainable and more connected and show other communities in the province that it can be done. We can be that example.”