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Steve Parish, long-time mayor of Ajax, won’t be seeking re-election

Steve Parish announced he is calling it quits after serving as Ajax's mayor for seven terms. .
Steve Parish announced he is calling it quits after serving as Ajax's mayor for seven terms. . Jasmine Pazzano

After serving the Ajax community as mayor for more than 20 years, Steve Parish says his time in office is coming to an end.

Parish made the announcement Friday afternoon at Ajax Town Hall, telling an atrium full of politicians, reporters, as well as his family and friends that “there’s no perfect time to leave.”

“There’s no question that I’m going to do all of my job and all of my duties and fight all of the battles, as I’ve always done, right to the last day,” said Parish, whose term ends in November.

One of the battles he speaks of is the fight to keep the town’s casino, instead of moving it to the Pickering site, Durham Live. “I will continue to fight that battle,” said Parish. “There’s no question that this council will continue to fight that battle, and my successor will continue to fight that battle.”

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Last week, Great Canadian Gaming announced its intention to shut down the town’s casino, and Ajax went to the Oshawa courthouse Thursday to appeal the Ontario Municipal Board’s decision to give the Pickering casino the green light. The hearing will reconvene on April 20.

But, Parish insists, his decision to leave was not influenced by the casino feud. “I’d made up my mind before the casino fight emerged,” he said.

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Several fellow Durham politicians attended Parish’s announcement and have been chiming in on social media in support of the mayor:

Parish says that while he’s still interested in politics, he is unsure what his next move will be. “I’m really going to give a lot of thought and attention to that,” he said. “I have four granddaughters, so I’m not a young man. I don’t consider myself an old man. I don’t see myself … on the front porch on a rocking chair.”

In the meantime, the town will be looking for a new mayor, with the nomination period opening on May 1.