PARRSBORO - David Harrison would have been the first to admit how green he was when he first ran for Parrsboro Town Council four years ago. "I remember saying I didn't really have a platform," he said, laughing. Despite that political inexperience, he scored with the voters in 2008, finishing second to veteran councilor and future mayor Lois Smith on the ballot. Harrison soon faced a steep learning curve on the job when he was alphabetically the first councilor named deputy mayor, a position that called on him for leadership when Mayor Doug Robinson resigned due to health reasons in 2009, and Smith vacated her seat on council to run for the mayor's post. On top of all of that, the same time period also saw a transition at the administration level of town hall with the retirement of long-time CAO Ashley Brown and the arrival of newcomer Ray Hickey to the role. "You learn a lot about things in the town, how they are run, and every little detail," said Harrison. "I was there with the CAO every day, and it was quite an ordeal. Thankfully, Lois was there, and the staff, but it was trial by fire for that first year." As for a platform this time around, the councilor said he wants to continue working on priorities they have already started. Among the items on his list are Main Street improvements, expansion at Glooscap Park, proceeding with Phase 2 of the sewer project, and continued progress on the joint energy office with the Town of Springhill and the county municipality. Council has also been working on a strategy to attract new residents to town, according to Harrison, who said he believes they can encourage families to make their homes here while traveling to work in Western Canada. "They can live here and work in places like Fort McMurray, which I first thought was going to be a flash in the pan, but is not slowing down any," he said. "I think, if we can offer up good schools, a safe town, and lots of activities..." Harrison also addressed some criticism that has been directed at the current council, e.g. the nursing home that was announced during the last municipal election but never came. He explained that it was the provincial government's choice not to proceed with the project when the lone construction bid was deemed too high. The experience if the last four years has given him a different perspective going into this election campaign. "I felt, in the last year, that council finally hit its stride, plus we have a little more experience financially on what to expect and what we can do," he said. Harrison will be joined in the ballot by Betty Atkinson, Robert Fancy, Dawn McCully, Ron Shaw, Llloyd Smith, Lisa Ward and Lyle Yorke.
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