Chemainus businessman Chris Istace is officially in the running as the BC Green Party candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Istace, 46, was confirmed as the Greens’ hopeful in the riding following a campaign launch at Waterwheel Park in Chemainus alongside BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau.
“I am excited to be the BC Greens candidate for North Cowichan-Nanaimo,” remarked Istace. “Our communities give us such hope. As a small business owner, I know the struggles families are facing now. I know how the uncertainty weighs on them and that’s part of what has inspired me to run in this election. Together I know we can overcome this adversity and come out as a stronger, more sustainable and cohesive community.”
Istace and wife Judy came to Chemainus from Saskatchewan coming up to seven years ago this fall. They have a son Brandon, 21, and daughter Jaiden, 19.
Istace previously spent 21 years in the oil and gas industry that ultimately led to operations management and technical sales. Istace served two terms as a city councillor in Estevan, Saskatchewan.
He’s always been passionate about community involvement, serving on the board of directors for the Chemainus Business Improvement Association — including the presidency — and the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society for the past five years.
For more than 18 years, he’s been a small business owner as well as a writer and photographer in the tourism field while mentoring with the Alpine Club of Canada, Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC and Island Mountain Ramblers.
Istace’s priorities for Nanaimo-North Cowichan include developing affordable housing for the riding.
“We’re actively seeing people struggling with wages and being able to afford to live here,” he said. “How can we make housing attainable so that everyone can live here and enjoy it, not just those with the privilege and the means?”
Istace is also looking to take action on the opioid crisis and increase mental health services to respond to the crisis.
On the economy, he’s prioritizing local businesses and supporting the forest industry.
“We need to focus on being sustainable on a Vancouver Island level and a B.C. level,” Istace said.
—with a file from Cole Schisler, Ladysmith Chronicle.