Curtis Penner is dropping out of Edmonton’s mayoral race to spend more time working to preserve parkland in the city, the candidate announced on his website.

"After long reflection and consultation with friends, family, and industry contacts, I have decided that I can better pursue my passion and serve the Edmonton community by focusing my efforts solely on the fight to retain our rights to our parkland, versus diluting my efforts through a mayoral campaign," Penner wrote in a post to his campaign site Wednesday.

"Maintaining this space is our right and is our legacy to our children, and this issue deserves a dedicated advocate. "

The president of the Ermineskin Community League, Penner made the issue of preventing unused school sites from being used for development a major part of his platform when he announced his candidacy in June.

He also advocated a hiring freeze for city employees and pledged to keep a tight reign on the costs for the downtown arena project.

In the announcement, Penner urged his supporters to pressure remaining candidates to sign a pledge to protect unused school sites in the city.

With Penner’s resignation, five candidates remain in the race. Three current city councillors - Karen Leibovici, Kerry Diotte and Don Iveson - are joined by candidates Fang Hu and Kristine Acielo.