Lark Angels Foundation Fundraiser

I will be the Emcee at the third annual Black Tie Event for the Lark Angels Foundation on September 20th at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.  I have been a ticket holder to this event from Day One and I am pleased to assist this organization as they take the next steps to create their first sensory stimulation room in Surrey.

The Lark Angels Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to the lives of our senior population, especially those suffering with Dementia, a brain disorder affecting their thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks.

Dementia can happen to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your neighbour, your friend… it can happen to you.

Lark Angels Foundation - 2019 Black Tie Gala Fundraiser - MikeStarchuk.comThe Lark Angels Foundation goal is to build Sensory Stimulation rooms, designed to reach and open minds to the five senses – sound, smell, touch, sight and taste.  These rooms have proven to be beneficial to seniors with dementia, when no other suitable situations are provided. If people living with dementia have nothing to do, they might become increasingly isolated, frustrated, bored and unhappy. A sad, but true, scenario is watching them sit hour by hour staring into space while their brain, like a puzzle, loses one piece at a time.

Dementia can cause memory loss, loss of vocabulary, change of moods, faulty reasoning, and disorientation, to name a few symptoms.  It is recognized that sensory deprivation and lack of appropriate activity has a devastating impact on a person’s well-being and health.  Older people in particular, who are limited in their physical and cognitive abilities, need to be offered, and helped to engage in, activity that provides multi-sensory stimulation as they may not be able to access this kind of stimulation on their own.    

Everyone needs sensory stimulation in order to comprehend the world around them. The only way we can get information into our brains is through our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement. 

Linda Fernholm, Patrick Doyle & Janet Isherwood, directors of Lark Angels Foundation, hope to have, with the help of Associated Health Systems, the first sensory stimulation room built later in the Fall of 2019.  These sensory stimulation rooms will be open to the public and Lark Angels Foundation will rely on donations to support these rooms.

I hope you’ll attend and if you are not able to attend, they ask you to consider becoming a sponsor of this special event and/or donate a gift for the Silent Auction. They are always looking for help and generous support from large corporations and small businesses within our community to help make this happen.

Please join me in helping them in their quest to build these sensory rooms and buy tickets ($100 per person) and/or donate by emailing Janet at or by phoning Lara at 778-868-9172.  Donation receipts will be issued at that time.


Charity #77740 8113 RR0001 

The Surrey Policing Transition Report

The Surrey Policing Transition Report was released on June 3rd at 1:00 pm, and is 189 pages in length. The closed Council meeting only lasted two hours before the report was voted on and sent to the Provincial Government in its present form.

I read for two hours and could only manage to get to page 123. By the time I made it through the document, I spent nearly three hours and had made notes with 27 questions. How informed was Council in the two hours they had, to disseminate the information, before they sent the report to the Provincial Government?  Why did they keep the report out of the community engagement process? These are the questions I hope are answered as the rest of the public is left wondering how factual the numbers are.

Today I was on Pulse FM and had the time to speak with host Tara Lopez about the transition report and what the Mayor says it will cost.

The interview opened up the dialogue with respect to the numbers. Both in budget numbers and the numbers of personnel.

What I found during my second read-through, were some deficits surrounding the Special Investigations Section. Specifically, Sophie’s Place, which starts on page 94 and continues on page 95. What caught my eye was, in the report where it said there is “child friendly space for children up to and including 18 years of age living in Surrey…” Sophie’s Place provides care for children zero to nine years of age.  With this glaring incorrect statement, I began to look at this part of the report with greater intensity.Sophie's Place - Child Advocacy Centre -

Sophie’s Place holds a dear spot for Surrey Fire Fighters as they are the ones who, in 2012, created much of the space for this program. Let me give you some background.  Sophie’s Place is the 1st child advocacy centre to open in B.C.  It’s a place where children that have been sexually or physically abused can go and get wrap-around service from specialized RCMP officers, victim services, counselling and much more.  As a firefighter I was part of this group when it was first set up in 2012. 

Currently there are seven specialized RCMP CASO (Child Abuse and Sexual Offence Unit) working at Sophie’s Place investigating abuse against children aged zero to nine. 

On February 7, 2019 Mayor Doug McCallum and Surrey City Council unanimously passed a corporate report 
to enter into a 10 year lease and expand Sophie’s Place with an additional 11 Special Victims Unit officers and two staff, so that services could be expanded to include children aged 10 to 15. 

In the Surrey Policing Transition Report, those 11 officers and two admin are clawed back, and services to abused children ages 10 to 15 are taken away. We cannot let these vulnerable children fall through the cracks. We cannot allow this Council to endorse a Corporate Report in one month, and then a few months later, dismiss those details and omit this here.  To state that any additional resources will come from Surrey PD Sex Crimes Unit is nothing short of ludicrous. There is nearly one new file opened every day. The expansion of programming for youth 10 to 15 years of age, is the reality of what is happening in our society.

Stand UP and SCREAM at the top of your lungs for these young victims! If we don’t, the predators win.


  • 1 in 3 Canadian girls will be sexually assaulted before reaching adulthood
  • 1 in 6 Canadian boys will be sexually assaulted before reaching adulthood 
  • 1 in 5 children will be solicited sexually while on the internet 
  • 60% of children sexually abused never report their abuse.



At The Newton Exchange

A great morning with the transit users in Newton with everyone looking forward to using LRT in the near future.
The riders were excited about the youth passes for those 18 and younger, and all were very happy with the Surrey First platform on public safety.

Remember to get out and vote this Saturday for Tom Gill, Mike Starchuk and the Surrey First team.

Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - Mike Starchuk - With Surrey First Candidates and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange -



Reflections On The Past Four Years

Raised and educated in Surrey, I have lived here most of my life. I started my career in public service, as a volunteer firefighter in 1980, which then led to an amazing 32 years of service as a professional Surrey firefighter. The most fulfilling part of that career was as a founding director of the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society. This charitable society continues to be one of the top charitable organizations in our City. I retired in 2014, as Surrey’s Chief Fire Prevention Officer, to pursue a challenging second career, as a City Councillor, and was elected that same year.Mike Starchuk - Surrey First Seniors' Day Announcement -

I am Chair of the city’s Agricultural Food Security Advisory Committee, the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, Diversity Advisory Committee, as well as vice chair of the Seniors Advisory Committee and City Liaison to Tourism Surrey. I was also appointed to the mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention and appointed to a Cannabis Task Group to prepare for the changes in the federal legislation in October. We traveled to Seattle, Portland, Denver and Los Angeles to look at best practices and lessons learned, which has led to the most comprehensive strategic framework in our country.

In my time at Surrey City Hall, I have always accommodated meetings with members of our community, either at City Hall or in their neighbourhoods. I believe this has made me the most accessible Surrey Councillor. I have been invited to meet with all of the neighbourhood associations. We met to discuss their local issues, where I listened and informed them of what is current in the rest of the City.

Mike Starchuk - Enjoying the show at the Cloverdale Rodeo - MikeStarchuk.comI have offered my connections to organizations and individuals to make differences. One example, involved the 2018 Cloverdale Rodeo. As the Chair of the City’s Diversity Advisory Committee, I often run into service providers looking for assistance. DiverseCity had a table set up at an event in City Hall, where I approached them and asked if they could use some passes to the Rodeo. What happened next was one of those “pay it forward” moments.

Through the help of staff, I was able to arrange passes for 20 people, two for DiverseCity staff, and 18 for their clients, giving them the opportunity to experience their “first rodeo”. They had access to the grounds, rodeo and midway rides. When they arrived I had the pleasure of meeting with these young adults from around the world. They had come to Canada for a better life and had ended up in Surrey. Sitting next to a young woman from Syria, she explained how she loved our City and her experiences here.

Part way through the conversation, I could see that she was alarmed by the screams from the midway rides. She interpreted the screams as sounds of distress, rather than the exhilaration of the rides. She was put at ease, somewhat, by my explanation that these screams were similar to those screams from scary movies. No one was being harmed.

Shortly after we said our goodbyes, I ran into the group as they were enjoying the midway. This young woman was on a looping ride, head down, eyes closed and hands holding on to the bar, white knuckled. When she walked down the stairway all I could see was a big smile and wide eyes. She was exhilarated. She was ready to do it again! I’m happy to be a connector and will never forget how I felt, sharing in their experience.

Mike Starchuk - Biggest Blueberry Pie in Surrey - MikeStarchuk.comAs the Chair of the Agricultural Committee I am pleased to be a part of the promotion and education of our Agricultural community where we now have a stand-alone Agriculture Week to celebrate everything local and fresh. We now have “Pie in the Plaza” where we showcase agriculture and provide a free family event that includes BC’s largest blueberry pie.

Part of Agriculture Week is farm-to-table dining on Sundays in September. I met with our local restaurant owners and chefs to come up with the concept of two-thirds of the menu ingredients coming from within the boundaries of Surrey. This September program has become so successful that one of the restaurants in South Surrey (Tap) has a set menu where nearly 90% of the menu ingredients come from Surrey. It was so successful, they extend that menu into October because their patrons so enjoyed dining on fresh local products.

There is crossover between some of the committees I chair. One such instance is that of the Diversity and Environmental committees. My connections have led to the “Foam Free Vaisakhi” program where a grassroots group was able to divert more than 100,000 pieces of styrofoam from our landfills this year. This program is expected to grow to over one million pieces of non-polystyrene kept out of our landfills.

Mike Starchuk - Surrey Fusion Festival - MikeStarchuk.comThe same approach was used at the 2018 Fusion Fest. With the environmental success of the “Foam Free Vaisakhi” pilot, the same principles were applied to Fusion Fest. I’m pleased to say 100% of the items used by the food vendors were either biodegradable or recyclable. As close to zero waste as possible, at a time when the public is asking us to think more about Mother Earth.Mike Starchuk - With Future Surrey Voters -


It has been a privilege representing the Citizens and City of Surrey, on Council, for the last four years. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring fresh and new ideas forward, and I hope on October 20th, you will cast your vote for me, so I may continue to represent the City I love; the City I have called home for over 50 years; the City I work, live and play in.