Chris Haslett doesn’t see any big issues facing the Town of Comox, but he would like to phase out wood stoves, ban plastic bags and encourage developers to build more houses to drive down housing costs.
Chris Haslett has eschewed social media in his campaign for a seat on the Comox Town Council. He prefers the old-fashioned method of knocking on doors and talking with people.
“I”m a meet-you-in-person kind of guy,” he told Decafnation.
And when he’s on the doorstep, Haslett has a straight forward message: He’s not running for council on the basis of any major initiative, he’s just promising to spend tax dollars wisely and to make decisions with common sense.
“I don’t have anything I want to drive through,” he told Decafnation. “I wouldn’t say there are any issues in Comox. It’s going in the right direction.”
Haslett, who was born and raised in Comox, said he has thought about a run a politics for the last couple of years. But he had his eye on 2022.
“The biggest reason I’m running now is the changing of the guard, the number of open seats,” he said. “The math works out. I think I have a legitimate shot.”
Only two incumbent Comox Town Council members have filed for re-election to the six council positions.
Although he’s happy with the town’s status quo, Haslett does have some key areas of focus.
He would make sure all the necessary infrastructure is in place for new construction projects. He says it happens all the time that not long after a new project is built — like the new hospital, for example — they’re tearing up the streets for some additional infrastructure.
And he thinks the solution to affordable housing is to build more houses.
“We hear about the homeless, seniors and others needing affordable housing,” he said. “But without more housing, costs will never go down.”
He’s encouraged by several new multi-family projects in the works, including 89 units in a four story building on Anderton. With a shortage of lots, density will have to come from taller buildings, he said.
But he doesn’t believe council should get involved in directing developers toward a particular type of housing, such as townhouses or including a mix of varying priced units.
“The type of housing is entirely up to the developer,” he said. “Council is only here to see they follow the bylaws.”
On other issues, he sees council taking more of the initiative. He favors banning the use of single-use plastic bags and straws. And he’s in favor of phasing out wood stoves.
“My kids have respiratory issues, so we suffer from it more in the winter,” he said.
Haslett would also like to see a walkway constructed from Marina Park to Goose Spit.
“But it has to be feasible. “I’m always looking at the bottom line,” he said.
His method for making future decisions on council would be based on “common sense.”
“I’ll look at two outcomes, black and white, without any grey,” he said. “I can sift out all the emotion, all the grey.”
After graduating from Highland High School, Haslett completed oil and gas tickets at North Island College and went to work on facility construction in Fort St. John. He then moved to Victoria to do seismic mapping for new projects in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, ultimately supervising the mapping department and overseeing five employees.
When the price of oil dropped four years ago, he moved back to Comox and went to work selling commercial insurance for Waypoint out of their Campbell River office.
“I’m a third generation Comox person, raising a fourth,” he said. “I’m looking out for the future so my kids have a great place to live.”
Haslett, who is the grandson of former council member Vern Benedictson, has twin daughters.
He wants voters to know that he would make sure their tax dollars are spent well.
“And I want to increase transparency on that. If people know where their money is going, they’re okay with it,” he said.