UPDATED: Woodwynn Farm decries eviction notices

Central Saanich treatment centre says the municipality issued ‘No Occupancy’ orders Wednesday

Woodwynn Farms in Central Saanich is protesting what they are calling eviction notices posted at the farm by the municipality on Wednesday.

In a statement, Richard Leblanc, Founder and Executive Director of the Creating Homefulness Society, said ‘No Occupancy’ orders “were posted by municipal officials on Woodwynn Farms’ Treatment Centre housing units, in a move that defies all logic.”

“I will not allow our participants to be put out on the streets,” Leblanc stated. “It’s time for our provincial leadership to step in and do the right thing.”

Leblanc is calling for action from the NDP government to stop what he is calling an eviction of the centre’s participants “onto the cold, rainy and drug-riddled streets. Only 12 days before Christmas.”

Woodwynn Farms is home to the Society, which operates as a place where people with addictions can get off the streets of Victoria and receive some treatment while working at the farm.

Most recently, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) denied the Farms’ request for a permit for housing on the property, which Leblanc and the Creating Homefulness Society’s board are preparing to dispute.

There was, recently, a fire in a camper on the property, which had been used as storage at the time.

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says it was that fire that prompted the District and the BC Safety Authority to conduct an inspection of the farm’s electrical system. It was that investigation, Windsor said, that led to the issuing of ‘No Occupancy’ orders on the RVs, washroom facilities and greenhouses on the property.

“Life safety was a major factor here,” Windsor said in an interview. “The District also has outstanding issues on permits for washrooms there, which have no permits for water or wastewater connections.”

He added he’s not sure the RVs onsite at Woodwynn are suitable for year-‘round occupancy, adding the District believes there’s significant risk to people, which led to issuing the ‘No Occupancy’ orders.

Asked about the timing of these orders with the recent decision by the ALC to deny Woodwynn further occupancy permits, Windsor said it was coincidental.

“We waited a long time for the ALC decision. We asked them to weigh in on Woodwynn’s application … we can’t supersede their authority.”

Windsor said he knows people feel differently about the issue and that’s why the District asked the ALC for its opinion.

He said the municipality will respect that decision.

“At this point, the District has taken the only action it can.”

Should the operators of Woodwynn Farms opt to defy the ‘No Occupancy’ orders, the mayor said Central Saanich would seek legal advice as to how to proceed with the enforcement tools at their disposal.

In an interview, Leblanc said that the order “was a disappointment, not a surprise.” They plan on defying the order, but they are uncertain of what that might mean for them.

“That’s kind of in the hands of the authorities, the municipality and the province I suppose…We’ll find out.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rare comet dazzles night sky over Saanich Peninsula

Comet NEOWISE is passing Earth for the first time in 7,000 years

Saanich warns of ongoing night work at the Shelbourne, McKenzie intersection

Construction expected to take three weeks to complete

Sooke Writers Collective releases new anthology

Lucky Number Seven features work from local writers

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read