Behind the counter at a downtown Victoria deli is a man wearing a bright red apron that reads “I heart pierogies.”
While he may be an expert on the traditional Eastern European staple, Krzysztof “Chris” Zmuda thinks he’d also do well as mayor of Victoria.
Zmuda grew up in Poland, fled to Germany during the Cold War, then moved to Ontario, where he studied English. He came to Victoria in 2009 and opened his Taste of Europe Deli at its original location at 1412 Douglas St.
Zmuda said he gained a happy following serving Polish recipes like kapusta soup and perogies, but that soon changed when a cannabis dispensary and a cannabis lounge moved in on either side of him.
“I became famous for being the cannabis sandwich,” he said in a statement.
“The customers didn’t like it. People stopped coming because they smelled marijuana inside the store and outside as well as daily loudly music from Terpcity next door interupted [sic] peace of employees and customers inside. My business went into the toilet.”
Eventually, Zmuda relocated to his current location at 130-735 Yates St., but not before he lost $30,000 in revenue, he said in an interview.
“I am the consequence of the negligence of the City,” he said.
Zmuda decided to run for mayor to avoid any more “disasters” and to support small business. He wants to see tighter control on cannabis dispensaries, citing more than two dozen operating establishments that still don’t have business licences.
When asked how he would handle marijuana legalization this October, he was clear: “We need to shut down the whole cannabis business in Victoria … In October, we can see who gets the licenses.”
As mayor he said he would prioritize solving problems such as homelessness and parking issues. He disagrees with the rainbow sidewalks and the current location of the new sewage treatment plant, and would like to see removal of the dedicated two-way bike lanes.
Others declared as mayoral candidates are incumbent Lisa Helps, Gary Beyer, Rob Duncan, Sean Leitenberg and Stephen Hammond.
To see more of Zmuda’s platform, visit elect-zmuda.ca