WINCHESTER – A longtime Winchester resident, and the final editor of the village’s shuttered weekly newspaper, is seeking a seat at North Dundas’ council table in this fall’s municipal election.
Matthew Uhrig officially filed for the position of councillor last month, though he has been charting support for months leading up to the decision.
“There were some conversations early on in 2022, with those involved indicating I’d have some well-placed backing if I were to file my nomination paperwork,” Uhrig said. “This gave me pause, and time to truly consider the opportunity. It was a thought that never went away – there was a continued motivation as the year moved on. Representing North Dundas is something I’d truly like to do.”
As the last-ever editor in the Winchester Press’ long history, Uhrig spent a decade watching the municipality both burst and bloom. There have been numerous successes in North Dundas throughout that time; however, there have been an equal number of struggles, from a depressed business community, which most recently was impacted heavily by routine shutdowns during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic; to lagging municipal infrastructure, including a sufficient source of water for the municipal system, that has seen development take a hit.
“There are a number of key issues that are going to land at the council table throughout the next term – some of which have been dragging through township bureaucracy for some time,” Uhrig said. “We have a municipal landfill that tipped past capacity some time ago, with only an expansion identified as a suitable solution. On top of this, the township’s building department has been forced to put development opportunities on the backburner because there is little to no remaining water and sewer capacity.”
It’s these two singular issues, he added, that are going to dominate council discussions in the coming years, while also challenging North Dundas’ fiscal resources.
Uhrig is also looking to bring a new perspective to conversations related to the municipality’s fire service, which this year took a nearly $180,000 budget cut, despite major capital expenses expected in the years to come; not to mention the millions that will be required to standardize training for the service members, as per provincial standards.
There’s also the matter of recreation and culture in North Dundas, which is lacking in accountability when it comes to administration, not to mention an absence in value for the budgetary dollars allocated to the department, Uhrig added.
“This is the community that my family is proud to call home; this is where my kids will grow up. I want to ensure that all of North Dundas, not just its individual villages, thrives, and offers opportunities to all demographics to live a happy life here,” he said. “From school to extracurriculars, such as local clubs and sports groups, to employment and affordable housing, it is time to make a commitment to North Dundas, and show those living here now or those looking to move here that they shouldn’t have to look elsewhere for opportunities.”