Woodwynn Farms is currently closed, pending a sale to an unknown buyer. (Hugo Wong/News Staff) Woodwynn Farms is currently closed, pending a sale to an unknown buyer. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Woodwynn Farms sold to B.C. government

Therapeutic-recovery community is the goal, but no on-site housing planned

Woodwynn Farms has a new owner: the Province of British Columbia.

In a media release Wednesday, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said the purchase, made through BC Housing, would create a therapeutic-recovery community. That goal is similar to the goal stated by the Creating Homefulness Society, the former owners of the property. However, the province made it clear there would be no housing on the site.

“The purchase of Woodwynn Farms means we can provide more services for people living in supportive housing who will benefit from access to extended therapeutic care,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a media release. “This type of support is proven to increase people’s ability to maintain their housing, and eventually move on to independent living.”

RELATED (Jan. 2018): Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

In the release, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy said “Providing people with a secure home, a supportive community and a sense of value is so important to the journey of recovery.”

In total, the provincial government budgeted $6.9 million for purchase, including $5.8 million for the land (appraised at $6 million) and renovations, fees and soft costs of $1.1 million. The purchase follows the May 2018 announcement of another therapeutic-recovery community in View Royal, run by the Our Place Society.

“This property offers an exciting healing opportunity for people struggling with mental-health and substance-use issues,” said Don Evans, executive director of Our Place Society. “A recovery-oriented therapeutic model, grounded in farming the land, will be a tremendous resource for our community.”

RELATED (Nov. 2017): Another setback for Woodwynn Farms

While there will be no housing on-site, the release said BC Housing will work with the District of Central Saanich and housing providers in the CRD. In the short term, BC Housing will use a farm manager to directly oversee the farm.

In an interview, Central Saanich mayor Ryan Windsor said the District would treat the province the same way they would treat any land owner.

“Basically we’re awaiting further information,” said Windsor, adding he could not speculate on whether the government would apply for building permits and what those specifics would be.

During Richard Leblanc’s tenure as executive director of the Creating Homefulness Society, on-site housing was a major sticking point between the Society and the Agricultural Land Commission, which twice-denied their application to create housing on the 193-acre farm itself. Most recently, a November 2017 ALC decision did not permit the Society to allocate two acres of the site for tiny homes for 40 people.

The province’s media release said the future therapeutic-recovery community would conform to the land’s existing Agricultural Land Reserve designation and associated land-use bylaws.

RELATED (April 2018): Woodwynn Farms quiet, buyer still unknown

Teri DuTemple, chair of the Creating Homefulness Society, could not be reached before deadline, but in an April interview with the PNR, she said they hoped to continue because they wanted to work with the homeless, and they hoped there would be money left over after paying their debts so they could begin a new project.

“We are all in this together because we wanted to work with the homeless, and we still believe in that mission,” she said in April.

Updated July 11, 2018, 2:20 p.m. with additional details and comment from Mayor Ryan Windsor.



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Tent city break-up leaves mobile clinic seeking Greater Victoria’s homeless

Clinic nurse has witnessed rise in sex work, drug use following tent city disbandment

Questions remain following Friday crash

Questions remain following Friday’s dramatic crash on Sooke Road. The three-vehicle incident… Continue reading

B.C. SPCA Wild ARC seeking donations to replace roofs

Donations made to the roof campaign will be matched up to $10,000

Final push to fund new ultrasounds at Victoria hospitals

Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Beneath the Surface campaign nears goal of $500,000

VIDEO: Surveillance camera catches Sooke Rd crash

New details emerge into crash that sent three people to hospital

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Admitting mistakes is the first step

On Friday afternoon a dramatic three-vehicle crash took place on Highway, an… Continue reading

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

Saanich mayoral candidates in middle of legal dispute prepare for first face off

Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Fred Haynes will be among four mayoral candidates Thursday’s forum

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Most Read