Two political newcomers, Mark Bay and Zachary Junkin, are challenging two-term incumbent Dave Augustyn for the town’s top job.
“The mayoral election campaign is about proven leadership and I am pleased that people have an opportunity to review progress to date,” said Augustyn.
“Under my proven leadership and service, and together with the efforts of council, staff and the community, we have achieved great results over the last eight years.”
Bay thinks it’s time for a change in the mayor’s office.
“We may need fresh blood,” said the 47-year-old electrician who works in the construction industry.
Bay said the three points are in his platform: strong and responsible leadership in both council and town hall; a curb on redundant waste capital by stopping doing things twice; and ensure all standards and guidelines as set out by all government agencies are adhered to and followed.
Junkin, a 29-year-old who grew up on a North Pelham dairy farm, said he was running because he is dissatisfied with the current administration and “the direction in which its so-called experience is taking the town.
“I feel that the administration’s track record of waste and poor planning is not something that I can support when I cast my ballot.”
Augustyn pointed to what he considered achievements of the current council.
“From better roads and more sidewalks and trails, to new playgrounds and new and improved parks, to renewed downtowns and improved community events, to huge investments by other levels of government, to better protections for agricultural lands and the Fonthill Kame, our town has improved substantially.”
Bay, a volunteer firefighter living in Fenwick, used fire department patches as an example of doing things twice.
New ones were designed and made two years ago, he said. Then the town created a new logo and brand. It meant a new set of fire department patches.
He also pointed to prolonged work on the reconstruction of Haist Street and wondered if Fenwick’s reconstruction would meet its deadlines.
“That suggests an issue of leadership,” he said. “Someone has to give direction from the top to get it right the first time.”
Junkin said he sees a growing alienation between the citizens of Pelham and the municipal government.
“That has no place in a small town like ours. I want to see this changed.”
While many running for town councillor and regional councillor are retired or near it, the mayor’s race is a young man’s game.
Augustyn is 44, Bay, 47, and Junkin, 29.
Junkin doesn’t see age as a drawback.
“It doesn’t take a lot of age or wisdom to recognize our town’s high taxes and wasteful spending,” he said.
He recently completed a Master’s degree at the University of Waterloo and is part of a family team. His father Marvin Junkin is running for town councillor in Ward 1.
Bay said he was born in Ontario but lived in Alberta, Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada. He moved to Pelham nine years ago. This is his second election campaign. He unsuccessfully ran for Niagara Falls council.
“It’s given me perspective,” he said about his residential background. He is running “to get people talking about the issues.”
Junkin has his eye on how the town is growing.
“If elected mayor, I would work to ensure practical, sustainable growth for the town while curbing the wasteful spending practices that result in higher taxes with comparatively fewer services,” he said.
Augustyn grew up in the area and lives in Fenwick.
His goals if re-elected would build on what has been accomplished.
“My vision for Pelham continues to include appropriate and affordable parks and recreational facilities, vibrant and livable downtowns, safe and walkable neighbourhoods, lively cultural and artistic activities, an environment for small- and medium-sized businesses to thrive, improvements to our quality of life, protecting our natural and rural character while supporting agricultural operations, and maintaining Pelham’s friendly, small-town feel as we continue to grow and prosper.”
The municipal election is on Monday, Oct. 27.