WOODWYNN FARMS DENIED BY AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSION
VICTORIA, BC- The Creating Homefulness Society, operators of the Woodwynn Farms Therapeutic Community for the homeless, announce that the BC Agricultural Land Commission has refused their application to operate the Therapeutic Community program at this property.
Founder and Executive director Richard Leblanc is “extremely disappointed, yet undaunted by this latest development. On behalf of those we serve, and the massive efforts of our supporters, we are disappointed”
“We were very disappointed to receive the decision not to approve our application for non farm use on 1% of our agriculture land to enable us to provide housing and training for persons currently homeless. The remaining 99% of the agricultural land will be developed to meet the optimum agricultural potential, of this farm. We have demonstrated our sincerity, by bringing food crops to this land for the first time in over 150 years.
“We are disappointed, as this use is much less than is allowed for many other agricultural operations in the Saanich Peninsula that are involved in agri-tourism. Many of these farming operations have relegated much larger portions of their agriculture land to non agriculture use.
“We are disappointed, as we did show the ALC that our proposal would ensure that Woodwynn Farms will meet its agricultural potential under our stewardship, and would not end up as country estates, as is the case for many ALC properties in the Saanich Peninsula.
“We understand that the ALC is concerned that if our proposed operation is not successful that there may be pressure to continue the housing for other purposes and we regret that the Commissioners disregarded our covenants, to enter into a legal binding agreement to remove all facilities.
“We are disappointed that the ALC denied our application for farm dorm housing for the formerly homeless on 2 acres, while recently approving 23.4 acres for Trinity Western University classroom space, student and faculty housing, commercial and recreational usage, on ALR land.
“We also are disappointed in the denial of the vital importance of having the residents housed on the farm, for the Woodwynn Therapeutic project to be successful. Our research has clearly shown and is supported by similar existing operations that the persons involved in this therapeutic program must be housed on the land.
The recent Journey to the Edges 2012 campaign has served to strengthen the resolve of the team at Woodwynn Farms. Our team is meeting soon and will be announcing our next steps shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, farming and therapeutic operations continue, with ‘business as usual’. Our farm market opens for the season soon and we continue to assist formerly homeless at our farm.