Farm hit with civil suit

District of Central Saanich files claim against Woodwynn Farm

Not everyone is happy with the efforts of Woodwynn Farms.

Central Saanich council announced Monday that the municipality filed a notice of claims in the B.C. Supreme Court against Woodwynn Farms on June 30.

The claim, which was read as a rise and report during Monday night’s council meeting, stems from allegations by the district that the farm’s owner Richard Leblanc has been using property contrary to the district’s bylaws and permitting structures, including using farm land for office purposes, institution uses, camping and recreational vehicle and mobile home use. Also noted was the use of a barn, cited by the municipality as being unsafe for occupation. In March, Central Saanich issued a no occupancy notice for the barn, which was being used as a market, coffee shop and snack bar. Included in the notice of claim, the District stated the farm owner has neglected to rid the property of a noxious weed, as required by the municipality.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing,” said Leblanc in an interview with the PNR. “It’s in the hands of our attorneys now and I’ll be working with them to get some answers as to how to proceed with this.

Leblanc added that work begins now for the farm to get a legal time frame in place and then work on a defence.

“The most important thing is that here on the ground it’s business as usual. We’re committed here on the land to help people from the streets and give them a warm place to sleep as well as three healthy meals a day. That won’t change,” he said.

The farm had requested an allowance from the municipality in 2011 to use two acres of the 193 acre farm land to erect housing. The request was rejected at the municipal level and Leblanc was told he must first seek permission from the Agricultural Land Commission, standard procedure for any alterations to land zoning in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Since then, Leblanc said municipal bylaw enforcement has been present at the farm but the notice of claim came as a surprise.

“It’s unfortunate it has come to this,” he said.

“I would say less than half of the current council members have stepped foot on Woodwynn and it’s hard not to feel like these decisions are being made from an arm’s length perspective. The need for a community like this is great and it isn’t going away and it’s important for Central Saanich to help find a solution.”

In the meantime, Leblanc said, he is encouraging members of the public to come out and see what Woodwynn Farms Therapeutic Community is all about.

“We’ll continue to invite people in, we plan to continue the education and have people visit us to see what the therapeutic community is all about. That’s a crucial part of the process here.”

Leblanc maintains that the therapeutic community isn’t violating any laws.

“What we do here, these are legitimate farm uses. We are working hard to convert this into a productive farm. Every farmer in the province is looking for ways to diversify.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

Son of missing Oak Bay woman asks for continued public support

‘Because she is still out there, somewhere’

Death-penalty decision delayed for alleged cold-case killer

William Talbott is charged here in the 1987 slaying of a young Victoria-area couple

Group pushing to preserve Saanich Hydro land as park

Neighbours petitioning to buy surplus land on Kings Road

View Royal Park sign taken down after glitch redirects to pornographic website

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

Victoria General Hospital reopens operating rooms ahead of schedule after flood damage

Four delivery and four operating rooms were affected by a broken water valve

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

Fundraiser launched to help mom of French jogger detained after accidentally crossing U.S border

Cedella Roman, 19, was detained in America after accidentally crossing the border

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

UPDATED: 1,500 residents on evacuation alert as Peachland under state of emergency

The Mount Eneas wildfire has forced an evacuation alert of 596 properties

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

B.C. city wants pot banned from ALR

Mayor and council are concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Most Read