• Jim Mosher

Winnipeg Beach woman elected president of new riding association


THE PRESIDENTS: David Woodbury, of the Manitoba NDP, and Sarah Pinsent, of the Interlake-Gimli riding association.


Winnipeg Beach resident Sarah Pinsent, 38, was recently elected president of the new Interlake-Gimli NDP riding association.


Pinsent got the nod from the about a dozen people at the founding annual general meeting of the association Feb. 2. The mother of four is no stranger to getting involved in her community, having served on the Winnipeg Beach School parent advisory council.


She joined the former Gimli riding association a year ago, and served on the executive. Boundary changes forced the creation of the new association. It was, she says, her “first official engagement in politics,” she said.


And Pinsent made it her mission to make a presentation to the Electoral Divisions Boundary Commission hearing in Gimli in the fall to register concerns that the interim commission report suggested Winnipeg Beach and Dunnottar be included in a new riding named Stonewall. The commission subsequently incorporated the two East Interlake communities in Interlake-Gimli in its final report.


She says Winnipeg Beach and Dunnottar have more in common with Gimli than Stonewall.

We caught up with Pinsent during a riding association at the Winnipeg Beach Community Centre Feb. 10. NDP leader Wab Kinew dropped in for the family skate association fundraiser. That was something of a coup for the fledgling NDP riding association. While the leader was front-and-center at the event, Pinsent was only too happy to talk about her involvement as a political person.


She talked, for instance, about her thoughts regarding the potential impact of the preliminary Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission’s report which suggested cleaving Winnipeg and Beach to become part of the Stonewall riding. She made a presentation to the commission when it made a stop in Gimli last September.


“My concern was that Winnipeg Beach and Dunnottar, in particular are lakeside communities. Our identities and values are shared with communities such as Gimli and Riverton,” she said, encapsulating her presentation. “We share the connection north-south along the west shore of Lake Winnipeg. My concern was that if we merged with other towns that we wouldn’t be best represented in terms of what we need and what our interests are.”


Whether it was Pinsent’s commission presentation alone that tipped the balance is unclear but the commission did, in its final report, incorporate Winnipeg Beach and Dunnottar in the new Interlake-Gimli riding.


What drives her to get involved politically?


“I’m motivated by the fact that I want everybody to become the best version of themselves — and, in my opinion, that requires creating a collective identity in which we all look after one another,” she said.


Before moving into politics and entrepreneurship, she worked for the area’s health authority; her management position fell to restructuring a year ago. “That was the catalyst for change. I needed to find new employment,” she explained. “I took the opportunity opening a private counselling and therapy business in Gimli.”


She formed Lean In Counselling and Consulting, Inc. April 1, 2018, short months after her management position was eliminated.


In addition to raising her children and providing counselling services, Pinsent and her association board will continue its fundraising drive.


The Interlake-Gimli riding association executive is scheduled to meet March 9 to establish timelines for a candidate search and a nomination meeting.

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