Basil stands in front of an inlet wearing a red and black jacket over a floral shirt. White text reads

A community builder, problem solver, and lifelong learner

I pride myself on bringing a collaborative approach to all my work. Through my role as Executive Director of an LGBT nonprofit for 8 years, I’ve developed a unique ability to bring people together despite their differences.

I know that the challenges facing our community and broader world are complex: there are no simple solutions to addressing most of the issues we need to tackle. I find great value in embracing complexity. Everyone has something valuable to share, and I believe that our best leaders are listeners above all else.

I love Saanich, and I want to do everything I can to make it better. As someone deeply involved in environmental restoration, diversity and inclusion work, and community advocacy, I know much our collective work can make a difference.

Our communities must have leaders from various backgrounds and experiences: leaders who truly care about their communities and who put others first.

That’s why I’m running for Saanich Council. I hope you’ll join me in making our amazing community an even better place to live!

An advocate for safer streets

Basil speaks into a megaphone to a group of onlookers and media at Saanich municipal hall.
Rally for Safe Streets at Saanich municipal hall. Photo by Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Like so many Saanich residents, I care deeply about the safety of our streets. I believe everyone deserves to feel safe walking to school, biking to work, and playing with their kids in the front yard. In Saanich, few of us have that luxury.

My passion for safety was ignited four years ago when a drunk driver killed my university friend in a crosswalk. Yet, I know I'm far from the only person with this kind of story.

Last December, following a tragic death in our community, I joined three colleagues in organizing a rally and petition demanding Saanich take immediate action to make our streets safer. Since then, our group has helped push the District to install safety measures on Cedar Hill X Rd, adopt Vision Zero, and consider speeding up its investment in active transportation infrastructure.

A champion for equality

A large grouping stands in front of a school holding environment focused signs.
Rally to protect and restore Bowker Creek at Lansdowne Middle School

I am driven by the belief that everyone deserves to feel welcomed and included in their community. Our society has come a long way in supporting underrepresented groups, and I’m proud to have played a role in that, however small.

Since 2014, I’ve led an LGBT nonprofit that helps leaders create inclusive and supportive spaces within their communities. As Executive Director, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of community leaders from across Canada and the United States.

Alongside my LGBT advocacy work, I advocate for greater inclusion and support for disabled people. Within Saanich, I have helped autistic students at UVic gain access to support and resources. I have also worked with the Healthy Saanich committee to encourage Saanich to use more inclusive accessibility signage.

A lifelong learner in making cities better

Seven people wearing jackets walk down a curved path in a forest.
Learning about native species and habitat restoration in Cuthbert Holmes Park

I have always been drawn to learning about ways we can make our communities better. I completed my first post-secondary program in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Management in 2017, and I am currently studying at UVic’s School of Public Administration.

Over the years, I’ve read countless books about city planning, walkability, and sustainability. Though I’m no expert, my self-directed learning has given me a strong background for tackling some of our municipality’s biggest challenges.

I’ve likewise had the great privilege to learn from many mentors, colleagues, and conferences about making our communities more equitable. Social justice education truly is a lifelong pursuit, and I am committed to putting in the work to become a better advocate all around.

In a somewhat unrelated educational pursuit, I became a Certified Sommelier in 2018. At the very least, this has undoubtedly made me a great dinner party guest!

Growing up in Kamloops

An adult man and two children stand on a beach in front of a lake and mountain.
My dad, brother, and I at Riverside Park in Kamloops (I'm on the right)

I grew up on the outskirts of Kamloops in Barnhartvale: a quiet hillside neighbourhood dotted with farms, stables, and ranches. I was raised in a family of teachers as the middle child of three.

From a young age, my parents instilled in me the importance of being involved in and giving back to the community. On top of being beloved teachers, my parents’ endless community volunteering and advocacy work continues to inspire me to this day.

As a child, I was the shy, quiet kid who mostly kept to myself. As I got older though, I found my courage, my voice, and my first real place in the community through dance.

I truly blossomed in my later high school years, becoming Student Council President, the leader of our school’s social justice group, and an involved member of our school’s various band and choir groups. The lessons I learned and the mentorship I received made me into who I am today.

Making a home in Saanich

Two people stand side by side on large rock. The Saanich landscape is seen behind them.
My dad and I atop ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ (John Dean Park)

Like so many of us, I had the opportunity to move to Saanich through my studies at UVic. Yet, beyond just an education, my partner and I chose Saanich as our home and the place we want to spend the rest of our lives.

I’m passionate about making sure Saanich remains the beautiful, welcoming, active place that first drew me to it. That’s why I’m so committed to environmental restoration, community volunteering, and local advocacy.

My partner and I were fortunate to move to Saanich when rental housing was available and reasonably affordable. That isn’t the case for so many people today – especially students – and it’s a real loss for our community.

I want to continue to live in a place that supports its residents. With so much changing in our world, it’s clear that this won’t just happen: we need to work together with intention to make Saanich a place where everyone can thrive.