After nearly 14 years in the hot seat, Bribie Island’s councillor is calling it a day.

Gary Parsons will not seek reappointment to the Moreton Bay Regional Council when local government elections are held next year.

Official media statement released today:

I feel I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to live a fortunate life, first as a world record-breaking athlete, commercial builder and then as Regional Councillor for such a unique area. People say we are different here in Division 1, and that is because we are. We are made up of close knit community minded people who are passionate about their lifestyle and I am proud to be one of them.

Having lived in our Region for over three decades, it’s been an absolute honour to have had the support and confidence of the residents of Division 1 who have re-elected me for four consecutive elections and I’m proud to have served my terms as an independent, self-funded Councillor beholden to no one except the constituents whom I was appointed to serve.

That is why, with regret, but also with great expectations of what lies ahead in our future, that I announce that I will not be contesting the Local Government elections for Division 1 in 2016.

I have a deep affection for all the people that live here, and this was confirmed during my recent battle with bowel cancer. I am appreciative of all the well wishes, prayers, cards and visits during that time and would like to thank all those people who gave me strength and love to recover quickly. I will miss working as your local Government representative. However, both my wife Sharon and I, along with an extraordinary team of volunteers who assist with Bribie Island and District Community Appeal (BIDCA) will continue working alongside Lions, Rotary and many other organisations to serve our community.

I am proud of the notable achievements that have taken place in Division 1 during my time as councillor. These achievements include the delivered coastal and foreshore improvements through the staged master plans, the upgrades and new sporting, recreational and community facilities and the ongoing millions spent on the roads and drainage improvements.

Thank you to all the Council staff and field workers for their knowledge, assistance and friendship throughout my terms, and not forgetting my extended support staff at Councils’ Call Centre. To deliver the outcomes in Division 1 while in office, it has not been achieved alone. I needed my fellow councillors, directors and staff to support proposals that I put forward on behalf of the community which enabled them to come to fruition. Thank you to my personal assistant Sharyn McCarthy, who always goes that little bit further to assist me in serving the residents.

Over the years, I have been approached by a number of individuals who have said to me that upon my retirement, they too have aspirations of representing Division 1. My advice to them was that “You have to be a “grass-roots” person, having knowledge of what the Local Councillor’s role is. It is not a normal nine to five job. It is a 24/7 total commitment to serve the community. If a capable, self-funded and independent candidate steps forward for all the right reasons and asks me for assistance, I will be happy to oblige.

I wish all the very best to the successful candidate that the people vote in as the new Division 1 Councillor and I hope this person achieves continuing successful growth for our Division 1.

I must not forget to thank my darling wife Sharon, who has been by my side for more than 40 years, always giving me her love and support, and our four children and extended families.

 

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland thanked Cr Parsons for his support, dedication and service to the community as a councillor.

“Gary Parsons also served on the former Caboolture Shire Council and as an inaugural Moreton Bay Region councillor he played a crucial role in helping to unite our region after amalgamation in 2008,” Mayor Sutherland said.

“His knowledge and commitment to the communities he serves is beyond reproach, and even during the biggest challenges Cr Parsons displayed all the determination you would expect from an record- breaking athlete who had indeed run more than 19,000 kilometres around Australia.

“Cr Parsons’ successor will have big running shoes to fill, and hit the ground sprinting .”

Local council elections will be held in March 2016.

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