During their Feb. 26 meeting, Coun. Charlie Parslow said he’s concerned over the lack of amenities and services in the City of Dawson Creek, citing a presentation to council on the difficulties of recruiting and retaining professionals to the community. 

“It isn’t just related to the medical, I still associate with a number of educators in this town, and in Chetwynd,” said Parslow. “And again, the school district hiring qualified teachers has been for a number of years, a real challenge.” 

A long-time resident and retired high-school teacher, principal, and superintendent, Parslow explained that when he first arrived to the South Peace to teach, the city had an airport with regular flights to Vancouver, a strong visual arts program at the local college, a community choir program, and more, which have disappeared or declined. 

“I came here because there was a broad range of things for my wife, my children, and for me to engage with,” Parslow said, his wife, Mary Parslow, is a well-known local artist, while his children had the opportunity of dance lessons and other creative activities. 

“Many of those things have been lost, they don’t exist anymore,” said Parslow, noting he’s shared his concerns with Mayor Darcy Dober. 

“We’ve got to see how we can broaden the appeal of coming here and seeing what we can do to perhaps reinstate some of those things or empower them to happen or what have you,” he added of his talk with Dober, with the mayor suggesting Parslow meet with leaders in the local art community. 

Parslow also serves as President of the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists and did meet with local leaders, informing council that members from the arts community will be presenting to the city in the future.  

“I’m just giving you a heads-up that they will be making a presentation to council along this line,” Parslow noted, lamenting the diminishment of a local festival of the arts. 

“We had a fantastic festival of the arts here. It’s now a shadow of what it used to be,” he added, noting their focus also includes the festival of the arts and using the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre (KPAC) as a cultural hub.

Parslow also suggested that the Northern Alberta Railway Park next door to the Dawson Creek Art Gallery could be better utilized for many groups, including the local farmers’ market society, after meeting with them and speaking to an architect who presented options. The park already contains the city’s visitor centre. 

“I relate what the architect said. Given all the other things that are there, that could be the cultural hub of the community,” said Parslow, noting there may also be some synergy with needed childcare. 

By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 29, 2024 at 12:27

This item reprinted with permission from   Alaska Highway News   Fort St. John, British Columbia

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