Mayor Bryson and Council of Central Saanich,
I am writing to you as a longstanding supporter of and active volunteer at the Woodwynn Farms operation in Central Saanich about which I am sure you are well informed. We have over 100 active volunteers from all parts of the Saanich Peninsula supporting this very worthwhile cause. As you know, the farm needs a variance to permit the construction of accommodation for the people we want to get off the streets and into a productive life. I understand that the Central Saanich Council has referred the matter to the Agricultural Land Commission before Council will consider the submission. This delay is causing us great difficulty. Operations have had to be suspended temporarily until we can see some hope of being able to achieve the aim, an aim which I think is in everyone's interest.
Mr. Mayor you spoke very eloquently in your inaugural address about the need to protect farmland from development pressure and you said that what is required is "a willingness on the part of the whole community to ensure that opportunities exist for agriculture to realize its potential." You also pointed out that "When the community, .. and by the community I mean the whole Capital Region, – sees the land producing and benefits from eating the local produce, then and only then, will the land will be truly protected as farmland.
Woodwynn is still an active farm producing and selling agricultural products. I am sure you and your Council do not wish to preside over the death of yet another farm. We have to continue to farm this property and we're doing this now using entirely volunteer effort. Obviously this cannot go on indefinitely. We desperately need to build accommodation for our workers and the people we are trying to help. Our funding will not begin to flow again until the uncertainty is resolved.
Homelessness is not just a Victoria issue, it's everyone's issue and I would hope that you and your Council would offer help, at little or no cost to the municipality, in trying to deal with it. We want to continue this work on behalf of all the communities in the Saanich Peninsula.
Mayor Bryson, I am asking you to become an advocate for us and to use your best efforts to help convince Central Saanich Council to make it possible for our work to continue.
Major General (Ret'd.)