“I think have a lot of skills and knowledge to offer,” he said. “I have a real passion around building community and engaging people in the democratic process.”
He said in today’s political climate, there is a lot of apathy and cynicism towards government, and he wants to try to find creative ways to engage the public in the issues and bring different sides together.
“There are all sorts of opinions out there, and the question for me is, what can we do to inform those opinions, so it isn’t just an opinion,” he said. “I’m sure this council has worked hard trying to explain its positions, and some people maybe just don’t want to listen, but I want to try to find ways of stopping this antagonism and meld people together.”
Parslow said one of the concerns he has heard from the community that he believes is contributing to that antagonism is the financial security of the city – namely its debt, the property tax burden and the use of Fair Share funding for operational expenditures – and he shares that concern.
“I applaud many of the things the City has done, but I really am concerned about the debt of the city, and people are concerned about property taxes, and the way FairShare is used for operating purposes.”
Parslow said the city needs to gradually wean itself of using FairShare – a grant paid to the city by the provincial government in lieu of industrial property taxes collected outside of the municipal boundaries – because there is no guarantee that arrangement with the Province will remain in perpetuity.
“I think we’re in for a long period of economic adjustment, so we must work at debt and we must use FairShare in a way that doesn’t put us in jeopardy should the arrangements ever change,” he said.
He added people on all levels of the income scale have told him the property tax burden is too high, and he said while he doesn’t have any specific proposals on where those rates should be, he thinks that as issue this next council should study thoroughly.
Parslow said while he doesn’t have all the details around the change to the city’s water rate structure or the new effluent water reclamation project, he supports, in principle, the effort to get industry off of using potable water, and ensuring the financial sustainability of the city’s infrastructure.
“I do applaud any initiative that moves the city to financial sustainability,” he added. “My inclination is always to be fiscally conservative. That has always been my lens, and I will bring that to council.”
Parslow and his wife moved to Dawson Creek in 1981. That year, he began serving as superintendent and chief executive officer for School District 59, a position he held until 2001. He is also credited as being a pioneer in the formation of the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre and Kiwanis Enterprise Centre.
He is currently a director for the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living, secretary for the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and member of the Dawson Creek Rod and Gun Club and Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Club.
He has worked as a consultant for many communities in and outside of the Peace region, including First Nations.
Parslow and his wife have four children and eight grandchildren.
Check back with Mile 0 City all this week for more profiles of local candidates.