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Ripple Effect

Monique Roy

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Nurse Monique Roy-Michaeli leads water conservation in her Sechelt office.

“In 2022 and then again in 2023, we experienced the worst drought and water restrictions on record on the Sunshine Coast,” recalls Monique Roy-Michaeli, a dedicated registered nurse and Green+Leader at Sunshine Coast Home Care Services. “Climate change and the impacts it is having on our lives is scary and overwhelming sometimes.”

Instead of being paralyzed by the largeness of the drought, Monique felt that the healthiest way for her to confront climate change was to become actively involved in solutions.

In the spring of 2023 Monique approached her manager, Shari Myhill-Jones, with an idea for saving water in their office: the site’s six outdated 13L flush toilets could be replaced with water-saving alternatives. “Since we are working in an aging leased building, the opportunities to improve water and energy efficiency are endless,” says Shari. She connected Monique with Jay Vidler, VCH Property and Asset Manager, who said yes to exploring the possibilities.

In collaboration with Jay and Sechelt Hospital Facilities & Maintenance Operations Manager Adam Helfer, also a fellow Green+Leader, Monique orchestrated the replacement of six toilets with low-flow fixtures over several months.

Reflecting on the initial hurdles, Monique shares that cost was a challenge initially. “They projected to do half the fixtures and the rest at another point, but in the end, VCH covered all costs for all fixtures.”

The successful project achieved a 35 per cent reduction in water use. “That is significant considering we have approximately 25-30 people working on any given day in that office,” Monique adds.

What’s more, Monique accomplished this by carving her own path and strategically using what resources were available to her. Shari applauds Monique for her diligent leveraging of connections and management support.

Building improvement can often be a lengthy process and requires patience and tenacity. Monique remained committed to seeing the toilet replacement project through to completion.”

Emboldened by her success, Monique is considering other sustainability measures, such as assessing and improving lighting and heating practices at other offices on the lower Sunshine Coast.

The success of this initiative shows that anyone can instigate change with a bit of effort,” she notes.

While you can’t flush away the impacts of climate change, you can make a big splash with creativity and care.