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

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

Local authors nominated for Victoria Book Prize awards

Finalists for 2020 announced in two categories

Patrick brothers who shaped modern hockey also tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

Central Saanich to formally inform Agricultural Land Commission about soccer pitch proposal

Move is meant for information only with no application having come forward yet

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read