Mike Hallatt thinks he has what it takes to be a great mayor of Lake Cowichan.
The entrepreneur has never run for a political office before, but he feels his natural ability to connect with people would be a great asset for the next leader of the community to have.
“I’m a high energy person and I like to talk to people and tease out of them what their interests are,” said Hallatt, who moved to Lake Cowichan three years ago.
“There are some great ideas out there, but a lot of people keep them buried, and I have an ability to make a connection with people and get them to share those ideas with me. I’ve always been struck by what an interesting job being the mayor could be, and it seems to me that I would be a natural fit in that role.”
Hallatt has a long history in business, including starting up Benny’s Bagels in Victoria when he was 22 in 1982, and sold it in 1993 when there were five stores, and then opened up Pirate Joes in Vancouver after a stint in California working in the software industry.
Hallatt is currently in the process of converting the old gas station on Cowichan Lake Road into a unique hamburger restaurant that he hopes to open in October.
He said if he is elected in the byelection on Oct. 24, he will be an advocate for the people of the community and ensure the “municipal machinery” hears their concerns.
“Sometimes municipalities can be tone-deaf and tune out the voices of the people,” he said.
“The politicians and staff in the town have good intentions, but they are often very busy and have no time left over to listen to those voices.”