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Stepping up to make a difference

Phelps Bondaroff is a force to be reckoned with
Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Tim Collins/Contributor

Every so often we encounter a person who just makes the world a better place.

Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff is one of those people.

He is someone who has made his presence felt in such a wide spectrum of activities and causes that it seems impossible that he is only 37 years of age.

“I’ve been very lucky in my life. I managed to earn scholarships for my education, and I’ve had the chance to travel around the world,” said Phelps Bondaroff. “But I look around the world and I see problems and a lot of these are scary issues. They can seem insurmountable, but my approach has always been to break it down into smaller chunks and build on these.”

So, who is Phelps Bondaroff?

With a PhD in politics and international studies from Cambridge, he currently serves as a councillor for the District of Saanich and is the co-founder of OceansAsia. That’s an environmental advocacy group which combats illegal activities like shark finning and harvesting sea cucumbers.

“That work can be dangerous as it’s often associated with organized criminals. There’s a lot of money involved and there’s always some risk involved, but we take precautions,” he said.

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Phelps Bondaroff is also the co-founder and chair of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception.

“In 2023, we managed to convince the B.C. government to make all prescription contraception in B.C. free,” said Phelps Bondaroff. “That was a good day.”

In case that wasn’t enough, Phelps Bondaroff also finds the time to lead the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Pocket Places Project, which maps, promotes, builds and stocks little free libraries throughout the Capital Regional District. He’s helped create and stock 781 little libraries with more than 85,000 free books.

Phelps Bondaroff is also a research coordinator for the BC Humanist Society, a group that works to protect our constitution by ensuring the separation of church and state.

“I guess that it might be hard to chart out the things I’m involved with in a Venn Diagram that makes sense to people, but I guess my work is always about trying to make the world a better place,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

“There are so many issues that it’s possible to get depressed, but that’s not a motivator. I believe that people just have to step up and do what they can. That’s all that I’m trying to do.”

It seems that Phelps Bondaroff is doing that, and more.

READ MORE: Saanich author donates trailer load of children’s books to little free libraries across CRD