Mike Starchuk - Surrey City Councillor

Category Archives: Media Articles

Farm Fresh September

Over the past 18 months, I have been working on ideas to support our local farmers and finding a way to showcase their produce. As the Chair of Surrey’s Agricultural Food Security Advisory Committee, I am elated to introduce a pilot project that showcases locally produced/grown/raised/processed food that will be on the menus of our Surrey restaurants in September. Each town centre has representation and will be offering their preparation of Surrey local food on Sundays in September, with the exception of South Surrey, where Tap Restaurant will be offering their local menu on Tuesdays.

Farm Fresh September - Farm to Table - MikeStarchuk.comOne third (1/3) of the City of Surrey is in the Agricultural Land Reserve. To keep the public aware of this, the menus have been developed to have a minimum of two thirds (2/3) of the menu items coming from the City. As we move through the month of September, those farms that are providing the restaurants their menu items, will be featured on various media platforms.

For more on this pilot program go to:

http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/20694.aspx

For more information regarding our local farms and markets go to:

http://www.surrey.ca/business-economic-development/1423.aspx

Please take some time to enjoy a Sunday dinner (Tuesday in South Surrey) that features our local farms — which translates to better tasting foods — and supports our local economy.

The participating restaurants are:

Bozzinnis – 13655 104 Avenue

Elements Casino – 17755 60 Avenue

Maharaja Restaurant – 8148 128 Street

Old Surrey Restaurant  – 13483 72 Avenue

Royal Oak Restaurant – 15336 Fraser Highway

Tap Restaurant – 101-15350 34 Avenue ***

The Taphouse 15330 102A Avenue

*** Tap Restaurant will offer their menu on Tuesdays in September, as the restaurant is closed on Sundays.

 

Click here to read the City of Surrey Media Release regarding Agricultural Week & Farm Fresh Sundays

Click here to read the Surrey Now article about Farm Fresh Sundays

 

 

 

Kevin’s Story

Last week (March 3, 2015), we lost a Surrey Fire Fighter with nearly 20 years of experience. Kevin was dedicated to the Fire Service, to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, and to the Fire Fighters’ Association in Surrey. Kevin’s story is similar to other First Responders who suffered from mental health issues. The Vancouver Sun published an article (March 7, 2015) that spoke to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the First Responder community. The link to that article can be found here: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/First+responders+ramp+stress+management+after+rash+suicides/10868487/story.html

In Kevin’s case, a string of emergency response events starting in 2005, led to his diagnosis of PTSD in 2010. There was a claim for benefits to WorkSafeBC (WSBC) that was accepted by the Board. From the time he was recognized by WSBC for his PTSD (that is occupationally linked to Kevin), to his last days on earth, there weren’t any WSBC policies or mechanisms in place, to follow-up with Kevin’s mental health challenges.

Maltese Cross with Black Band - MikeStarchuk.comThe loss of Kevin has raised many mental health based questions which all lead to a continuum of care that is not offered to workers who have had successful WSBC claims for mental health conditions. The Surrey Fire Fighters’ Association decided to use the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (BCPFFA) Legislative Conference (March 9 and 10) to bring Kevin’s story forward. This conference was combined with the BC Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, where those that passed away, due to occupational causes, are recognized as Line of Duty Deaths (LODD). Firefighters from all regions across BC were in attendance to recognize the addition of 13 firefighters to the Firefighter Memorial.

Vice President Dave Burns made an unscheduled appearance at the educational portion of the conference to tell Kevin’s story. At that time, VP Burns asked the delegation to share Kevin’s story while they were meeting with their MLAs. Kevin’s story grabbed the hearts of all there, and everyone was in agreement that something needs to be done to prevent another First Responder from harming themselves.

Kevin’s story can be paired down to a few simple facts. Kevin’s string of emergency response events began in 2005, which played a significant part in his PTSD diagnosis. These emergency events were occupationally-related and accepted by WSBC. After discharge from his mental health practitioner, there was no mechanism or policies in place by WSBC to follow-up on Kevin’s mental health status. Ultimately, Kevin’s PTSD condition played a role in his passing last week.

In his address to the BCPFFA delegation, VP Burns provided a possible solution for consideration. By way of analogy, when you go to a dentist, they always make sure you are contacted for follow-up. In the world of First Responders, who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as PTSD or Major Depression, First Responders are left to fend for themselves after they are discharged by a mental health professional. WSBC should consult with the mental health community of practitioners, to come up with a set of criteria for post discharge oversight.

A post discharge policy could be as simple as a follow-up schedule for those who have had a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depression, or other recognized emergency service-related mental health condition. The follow-up interval could have less frequency over time. An example could be follow-up after discharge of every 3 months for a while, then 6 month intervals, move to annual, every 3 years and so on. The policy makers can consult with the mental health professionals to come up with the format to follow-up with these struggling First Responders.

As a former firefighter and a member of group peer defusers who were regularly used to talk firefighters through difficult incidents, I can assure everyone that not all firefighters react the same to similar incidents. The saying goes, “an abnormal reaction to a set of abnormal events is normal.” What the saying doesn’t cover is that each person reacts and recovers differently and each individual will recover and react at different speeds.

As a Critical Incident Scene Management peer defuser, I spoke with six firefighters in BC who had been formally diagnosed with PTSD. Now there are five. What I can tell you is ALL of these First Responders had been with me some time after their diagnosis, and the conversations always led to tearful conversations. These people have been affected by what they saw, smelled, heard, felt and did, while at work performing their duties. It’s time for the organization that is responsible for protecting BC workers to look at this in greater detail. WSBC made some progressive changes to the Act on July 1 2012. They created criteria for mental health practitioners to use, and created a better understanding of how First Responders are affected by what they are exposed to. No longer could First Responders be expected to be “tough enough” to deal with any incident, just because they were First Responders.

What needs to be done TODAY, is for WSBC to develop a policy, with mental health professionals, to deal with post discharge patients. We need to do this before another wife, child and friend has to endure this type of tragedy. My heartfelt condolences go to Kevin’s family. I hope someday, they will better understand that Kevin’s work-related mental health conditions, were likely contributing factors in his passing. I hope Kevin’s story will positively impact another First Responder, and produce changes to WSBC policy to better follow-up with First Responders with accepted mental health claims.

 

An Apology

Last week, at an All Candidates Meeting, in one segment, I used the ‘R’ word, to describe a situation. This was reported by the media. At the event, I immediately and sincerely apologized. This was not reported by the media, but has been confirmed to the reporter, by an independent source.

I’m sorry for using it, and I understand the comments and feedback I have received, especially given that my immediate apology wasn’t publicly reported.

I have worked with various organizations that support people with special needs for many years, and I regret my choice of words, during an intense political debate.

I can’t change this, but I intend on moving forward with my campaign, hoping this regretful choice of words is now behind me.

This is not a reflection on my family, nor those I am running with in this election, so please direct any comments or concerns to me.

 

Crime, Lies And Damned Statistics – Adrian MacNair – The Now Newspaper

Adrian MacNair of The Now newspaper, wrote a great article, exposing some of the fear-mongering and bullying tactics of some OTHER campaigns.

http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/macnair-crime-lies-and-damned-statistics-1.1479930

 

“I don’t have any objection to offering a plan for crime in Surrey. Where I have a problem is in the inaccurate, misleading and outright lies perpetrated by some candidates seeking office.”

  ~ Adrian MacNair – Author of ‘Crime, Lies And Damned Statistics’ – printed in The NOW Newspaper

 

“THANK YOU ADRIAN. Finally, one of our local papers has put this information up. The Vancouver Sun also put up an excellent article on Oct 24 including some very easy to read graphs. I have recently been to the all candidates meetings for mayor and councillors and was disappointed at how many candidates were pushing this issue and insisting it is much worse than it is. When one councillor candidate (ret. RCMP) pointed out that this is not the case… that crime rates are down and have been for some time… he was interrupted by remarks from a couple others that were insisting that was not true. Stats Canada doesn’t lie folks. Unfortunately, certain politicians do. Be very careful who you vote for. I for one do not want to return to the crime rates that were pre-Watts and team. (For the record, I have lived here for 40 yrs. Thirty-eight of those, I was a short walk from City Centre/Whalley on residential property. I am probably far more aware of what those crime rates were like than most Surrey residents are today. I noticed a change around the late summer of 2007 and it has continually gotten better.)”

~ – Commenting on The Now Newspaper website