....was raised on the importance of giving back.

Mike Kaye has been volunteering with Muscular Dystrophy Canada now for more than 12 years. He started his association with this fine organization when he began his career as a Saanich Firefighter in 1996. Every year, fire departments throughout Canada spend a weekend standing in front of local businesses to collection money for MD. Fittingly called the “Boot Drive”, this fundraiser is very well known in Victoria and throughout B.C. To date, Saanich has raised more than $3million. This is just one of many fundraisers held throughout Canada during the year.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Firefighters have had a connection which has been holding strong for over 50 years.Mike works hard to keep the enthusiasm fresh and to encourage more participation.

Over the years, Mike has taken on more and more responsibility. He presently holds the position of Firefighter Representative on the Board of Directors for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. This year he was voted Fire Fighter of the Year and awarded at a ceremony in Toronto.

Mike will continue his work with this organization but has taken on a new challenge working with the The Victoria Foundation’s, Leadership Victoria. "Being selected for Leadership Victoria is quite an honour." says Mike, "I look forward to learning new skills and continuing to enrich the community which I am happy to call home."

We wish Mike much success and keep up the good work in your community!


...IS A MAN OF AMBITION. Inspired by his travels abroad and the vision of an environmentally responsible lifestyle and sustainable future, the Saanich South resident aims to put his money (and time and elbow grease) where his dreams are. His goal? As Steve describes it - to construct a workshop in the fields behind his historic Saanich farmhouse out of locally sourced materials, using sustainable building techniques, “which, at the end of its life, whether that’s in 5 years or 50 years or 500 years....can be collapsed into the ground, ploughed in, composted if you will, and it will completely biodegrade. You can just plant seeds on it and it has zero toxic or detrimental effects.”

Well, that seems like a lofty enough goal. But Steve likes a challenge. As he points out, despite its obvious environmental advantages as well as a multitude of personal health benefits, this type of alternative construction is not yet widely accepted in BC as a solution to ecological damage caused by conventional living and building practices. Steve thinks there are a number of reasons for this, including the widely held belief that alternative building is too expensive, that “alternative” is often associated with funky off-the-grid shacks of questionable quality and mostly, because limited knowledge of non-traditional materials and techniques has contributed to restrictive building codes that make it difficult to demonstrate otherwise: An environmentally friendly, “alternative” building can be beautiful, comfortable, safe, and economical as well as low-impact, energy-efficient, and nontoxic.

Steve hopes to change the perception of both the public and inspectors by constructing his light-filled, 1000 sq ft “living building” model (image on right) to meet or exceed all standard Saanich building codes. A few of the techniques he is incorporating include: A rammed earth foundation - an ancient technique of forming thick structural walls from compressed earth, sand, and clay (harvested from his own land) using natural lime as a stabilizer; “net-zero” energy technologies - on-site renewable energy systems enabling the building to produce as much as or more than the power and energy it consumes; as well as a green roof – a roof covered with living vegetation, providing the benefits of natural insulation and cooling, storm water retention, sound absorption, cleaner air, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic enjoyment (to name a few....) Despite incorporating a multitude of progressive design and engineering solutions, Steve is promises the workshop will cost the same or even less than a conventional structure of the same size; an example of how thinking global but sourcing local (materials, energy, labour) can work for everyone’s benefit - reducing transportation and energy consumption, lowering costs, and strengthening the local community. He hopes that by showcasing leadership in sustainable building practices, standard methods and inflexible building codes will begin to change.

But that’s just the beginning. Steve realizes that in order for these changes to become well-established and make a real difference, more people are going to have to jump on the sustainable building bandwagon– and he intends to help them. In a parallel project, Steve is a core member of the “Alternate Solutions Resource Initiative” (ASRI), a group he helped found with other local alternative building activists. Working closely with a team of researchers and engineers, they have begun to develop a guideline that provides standardized instruction, specifically for this region, to people wanting to work with materials and techniques outside the building code. In terms of his long-term vision, Steve sees this much needed resource as complimentary to, but perhaps even more important than his building project. Ultimately, a truly sustainable society requires systemic changes that can only come from community involvement and perseverance. This is Steve’s greatest hope – that as others learn more and join him in building sustainably, they do so with the next generation in mind – working within the system to create a future where living and building sustainably is not the alternative, but the ordinary, everyday norm.

For more details about Steve's building plans, if you are interested in finding out more about Steve or the Alternate Solutions Resource Initiative, or if you would like to follow the progress of Steve's sustainable building project, check out his website at:



While she will never stop playing or composing music, writing, or making art, the multi-talented recent graduate of Glenlyn Norfolk High School also dreams of becoming a doctor. She knows a medical degree takes considerable determination and years of hard work, but this shouldn’t be a problem for ambitious young woman like Nicole who loves learning and excels at school…. At least that is what friends, family, and teachers all assumed - except that just two years ago, Nicole began to wonder if she would finish high school at all. In fact, in 2008 Nicole had to drop out of grade ten altogether because she was too sick to attend classes. Bed-ridden and in pain, Nicole’s life suddenly changed direction. Nicole had Lyme disease. She still does.


Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted through the bite of a tiny tick that, left untreated, progresses into a debilitating condition that wreaks havoc on a victim’s organs and nervous system. What appear as vague flu-like symptoms at first eventually morph into more acute issues that often mimic other serious diseases such as Arthritis, MS and Parkinsons.

Nicole has actually never been diagnosed with Lyme here in Canada. It was Nicole’s mom, Chris, who finally recognized Lyme disease after tirelessly researching lists of symptoms on the internet. Few Canadian doctors are trained to recognize Lyme disease, and those that are “Lyme literate” have their hands effectively tied with inadequate tests and restrictive diagnostic guidelines.

(Please see this article for more):

In fact the sicker Nicole got, and the more doctors and specialists her family took her to, the greater the variety of diagnoses she received: Athsma, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Growing Pains, Anorexia – you name it – even a need for attention was mentioned as a possible cause! Meanwhile, Nicole’s symptoms worsened: Her breathing became increasingly labored and shallow. She began to forget things and get lost in her own neighborhood. She developed waves of all-over body pain so severe she could not even get a gentle hug from her mother.

On the advice of one informed BC doctor, Chris paid for Nicole’s blood to be sent to California for a proper analysis. As soon as they got the positive test results for Lyme, they began their regular trips to the US for the long-term antibiotic treatments Nicole desperately needs, and which are prohibited here.


Chronic Lyme disease is not easily cured. Nicole’s family used up all of their savings and sold the family home to finance her treatment outside of the country. Even with medication, long-term Lyme infection has affected Nicole’s mobility so that she now must use a wheel chair to get around - and she continues to suffer from frequent pain and short-term memory loss.

Yet despite such adversity, Nicole remains optimistic about her recovery and enthusiastic about life in general. She continues to remain engaged with her close and supportive group of friends, and appreciates the dedicated support of her parents and teachers as significant motivating factors in her life.Inspiringly, Nicole has chosen to use her misfortune as an opportunity to become active in her community and bring awareness to others about Lyme disease and Lyme politics in Canada.

Currently, Nicole maintains an ongoing blog about her personal Lyme journey through which she has reached and encouraged many other Lyme sufferers. She has volunteered her time and wealth of experience with a group of Vancouver Island medical students with the hope of motivating Lyme literacy in Canadian doctors. She has done fundraising and spoken out publicly about the effects of Lyme disease to schools, forums, and even in the Legislature, continually calling attention to the need for more accurate testing and reliable management protocols in Canada. And, with daily doses of self-administered intravenous antibiotics (and the support of her family and community) she has even managed to continue playing music and complete her high school curriculum online.

What is it that gives Nicole the strength to be a Lyme hero rather than a Lyme victim? She believes that that making a difference isn’t always about big heroic acts. It’s about waking up each morning thankful to be alive, setting goals, and always moving forward, however slowly. Mostly it’s about not giving up hope.

For now, Nicole continues to travel regularly to the US for treatment.. Nicole hopes for a full recovery. Already there have been slow, but continuous improvements. As Nicole and her mom point out, back when this began to get very serious, they would never have predicted Nicole would graduate with her class in 2010!

So, perhaps med-school is still in the plans? Seems like a distinct possibility. And if not med-school then surely with Nicole’s combination of confidence and talent, she can have her pick of just about any other idea she sets her mind to - artist, writer, musician, teacher… Although it’s still a long road of healing ahead, and there is much need for education and action around Lyme disease in Canada, Nicole is living proof that when you set your sights high, the sky’s the limit!

You can follow Nicole’s blog, contact her, and find more Lyme related links at:

To find out about Lyme symptoms, prevention, treatments, and research in Canada, or to make a donation please go to the website for the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation:


...was working on climate change long before it was a hot button issue.

Working with leading climate change scientists, Richard has created films about sustainability issues and delving into the science behind climate change. He also made films which focused on the performing arts.


...he wrote, produced and directed documentary films for the CBC, and for television networks in the U.S. and Europe. Before his career in broadcasting, he served as a district agriculturist in Alberta for seven years, and was embroiled in the debate surrounding the effect of genetic engineering on food safety, the environment, and the future of farming and control of the global food supply.

SINCE THE LATE 1980's....

Richard has been writing about environmental concerns, sustainable agriculture and protecting the commons.

His book, Mighty River: A Portrait of the Fraser, received the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize and a certificate of merit by the B.C. Historical Federation. Mighty River celebrates the magnificence of the river that is central to the life, economy and identity for British Columbia. In the book, The Fraser provides a focus for analysis of the conflicts and choices that dominate North America’s economic, social and environmental agendas.

Bocking’s first book, Canada’s Water - For Sale? deals with the issue of water export from Canada. He has contributed chapters and papers to several other books and journals concerned with water resources.

More recently Richard was involved with the BC Standing Committee on the Environment and the Economy. He and a few others drafted the ‘Sustainable BC policy’ and presented it to the BCNDP provincial convention in 2007 where it was adopted unanimously.

To understand the significance this of the Sustainable BC vision, you can watch this interesting 20 minute movie here:


His lifetime commitment to the principals of sustainability is exactly the change we need to see going forward. He understands that “unless we are able to make the environment sustainable, we will not have a future for our children and grandchildren. Nothing else will be of importance if we don’t address this crucial issue.”

His dedication to acting on these morale imperatives truly makes him a Saanich Star!


…IS AN ORDINARY MOTHER. She loves her children, provides for them and protects them; just as any ordinary mother does. Hollie’s experience differs from other “ordinary” mothers in that she has an extraordinary child; Cooper has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

His differences became apparent as early as 18 months, when his aggressive behaviour began to frighten his peers, and their parents. When he was two years of age, Hollie began voicing her concerns about Cooper’s behaviour, which was frequently dismissed as “just a stage”. But this “stage” continued and daycares were denying services.

After one month at preschool, a teacher handed Hollie the intake number for Queen Alexandra (QA) Centre for Children’s Health. Just before his fourth birthday, Cooper was diagnosed with ASD. Though nobody knows what causes autism, part of Hollie was relieved by a diagnosis: now, at least, she knew what she was dealing with.
Living with Cooper is “exhausting, frustrating, and joyous”, says Hollie. She points out that Cooper’s personality is huge and people really like him, but trying to stay a step ahead of him is full-time (24/7) venture. “Cooper is kind of like a typical six year old, except times a hundred.”

The Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention program at QA had an integrated team of professionals for each child: 2 behavioural interventionists, behavioural analysts, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and social workers. Team members all had regular, daily contact with one another about each child’s file: services valued around $60-$70 thousand per year.

Cooper attended therapy for about 20 hours per week. Hollie, and other parents of other children in the program, were amazed to see children that they thought would never be ready for kindergarten were making amazing leaps of development in mere weeks.

Unfortunately, in the autumn of 2010, the Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention program was eliminated. Instead, parents of autistic children were allotted $22,000 per year from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to arrange and manage all services themselves.

With centres shut down, parents are left to piecemeal together services for their children; services that have no oversight and no communication between service providers. Ultimately it means that the Province was saving money by making the parents not only care providers, but also therapists, and case managers; not to mention financial wizards they needed to be to get the job done with one third of the money needed.

According to Hollie, the decision to cut these programs was “short sighted” because proper therapies for children with autism will save money by avoiding long term social impacts to social assistance, health care, and the judicial system. Already, many of these children are regressing, losing language and social behaviour skills they gained in the program. Some kids are losing basic toileting skills. Certainly, other parents must agree with Hollie’s assessment that this is “very sad and disheartening. We really grieved the loss of this program for our son.”

The need to advocate begins with the early services for proper assessment and diagnosis; and continues through the school age as the school system is not prepared, trained or funded to handle these special-needs children in their already over-full classes.

Hollie recognizes that it is not just autistic kids who are not receiving the services they need – British Columbia has many vulnerable children. However, like any mother, she is fighting for her child.

Hollie asks that people get educated and ask questions of their elected officials. She encourages people to write to their MLAs, to the Minister of Children & Family Development, to the Premier. For people who do know about autism and its effects, send letters to the editor – “get loud”, encourages Hollie. Email for a letter template.

Hollie, along with other parents and adults living with autism, have set up a group called Families for Autism Intervention Resources (FAIR). They have, as a group, met with the previous Minister who indicated that it would not be responsible for government to fund these programs. FAIR feels that it is the other way around.

For information or to get involved, visit FAIR on their Facebook page. They are looking at the feasibility of setting up a non-profit to offer services like those lost from the Queen Alexandra program. Hollie says “our group is not going away; there is a core group of parents that are committed to fighting to get services for their children.”

To learn more about autism

To get mailing addresses for Provincial MLAs and Minsiters: