After serving seven years on Red Deer City council, Paul Harris has said goodbye.
Sept. 18th marked Harris’ last day on council, as he will shift his focus to other things.
“I’ve got three businesses that I’ve got on the go and I’m in the middle of writing my master’s thesis,” he said.
He’s also been thinking ahead to the next four years of his life and what else he wants to accomplish.
“You only have one life to live, so with governance the whole point is to look around the community and you pick somebody to represent you. It’s never a life sentence and I don’t think it should be,” said Harris.
Looking back over the years, Harris said it’s been great to see some of the things accomplished that he set out to do.
“I had a number of things that I wanted to make sure got done. Almost all of them got done. Some of them were a little more difficult than others, but it was good to see those accomplishments happen.”
One of those accomplishments includes the Riverlands Project, which he said he spent 20 years working on. He added he’s also spearheaded the children’s spray park in the downtown, zebra crossings at the school crosswalks and traffic circles.
“I wanted to see traffic circles in our City because they’re so much more economically viable. They don’t cost a lot for us to maintain and they reduce deaths. They also take up less land, so they’re environmentally friendly,” he said, adding that they’re a good use of taxpayer dollars.
He also advocated to have all of the dead trees in the City replaced, a motion which passed.
“You drive down the street you’ll notice hey, there’s a new tree and every other tree seems new. That’s because for years we neglected the trees so I discovered that on their current schedule it’d take 20 years to replace a dead tree.”
At last week’s council meeting, Harris said his thank you’s to his fellow co-workers.
“I want to thank my council colleagues who I have learned so much from over the years and have come to know and not only love, but also respect for your opinions, your strength and your support for this community.”
He said it means a lot to him to know that council cares so much about the community so deeply.
He also specifically thanked Mayor Tara Veer.
“You always had a keen support of council’s will and always offered opportunities for people to make sure that their voices were heard, and you respected council’s decisions.”
Lastly, he thanked administration.
“Now I get a little bit emotional because I look at the amount of work that administration does in caring for our community and they really not only respect the citizens that live here, but they respect their council that supports them and tries to do the best job they can,” he said.
The political world, however, isn’t necessarily out of the picture for Harris.
He said with the future always uncertain he may want to step up if the time is right.