Town hall on Woodwynn Farms this Tuesday

Rob Reid, the owner of Frontrunners and a former chair of the Creating Homefulness Society, has organized a town hall to discuss Woodwynn Farms and therapeutic recovery programs amid ongoing issues at the 193-acre Central Saanich property.

On Tues. Feb. 27, Richard Leblanc, the executive director of Woodwynn, will attend along with Dr. Vanessa Young, co-chair of the South Island Division of Family Practice; Michael Young, program head for Royal Roads University’s MA in Justice Studies; and Eileen Pepler, a management consultant and adjunct professor at the University of Western Ontario and Athabasca University. The panel will take place at St. John the Divine Anglican church at 1611 Quadra St. from 7-9 p.m. in Victoria.

The farm is likely to be sold after the original funders of the project foreclosed on their mortgage. This comes after two denials from the Agricultural Land Commission for the Society’s plan to build housing on the property.

“I think sometimes we forget about the value we can have in recovery or day to day living through various therapeutic communities, and Woodwynn is an example of one,” said Reid in an interview. “It would be good to figure out how something like that can survive and promote other ones.”

Since that announcement, buyers have contacted the Creating Homefulness Society as Leblanc has been trying to delay the sale, without the full knowledge of the board. Last Tuesday, Leblanc filed documents in the B.C. Supreme Court asking for time to meet with the Creating Homefulness Society’s board of directors and the original buyers of the farm to try and work something out. In a further development, it was revealed that Leblanc was no longer a board member of the Creating Homefulness Society. Other media reports note that a potential buyer intends to keep the farm operational and continue some aspects of the current operation.

Reid said while he was writing letters to various provincial ministries, he thought a town hall “might be a way to get some attention for this mode of treatment.”

Reid, who is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm currently, said he would prefer the ALC to let the farm proceed.

“I think at the end of the day it would be a fairly humane, honourable thing to do as opposed to not allowing it to happen,” said Reid. “Maybe we need to start small and grow, but I’m not sure if that was one of the solutions the ALR offered to Richard.”

Reid said he is not involved in the disagreements between the current board and Leblanc, but he has spoken to some of the board to inform them the town hall was happening.

“The big picture for me is addressing therapeutic communities as a possible solution or treatment today.”

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