Woodwynn Farms to shut down, sell property after expansion plans denied
Woodwynn Farms previously urged the government to help fast-track rezoning applications so that it could build toward housing nearly 100 recovering addicts. Sept. 19, 2017. (CTV Vancouver Island)
A Central Saanich farm that hosted a unique live-work program to help the homeless will be shut down and sold after its request to build additional housing was denied.
The society that operates Woodwynn Farms issued a statement Thursday saying financial backers have withdrawn their support after the Agricultural Land Commission handed down its decision late last year.
In the decision, the ALC denied the society's request for rezoning to build temporary housing for up to 40 people.
"After nearly a decade of commitment by staff, volunteers, community members, philanthropists, neighbours and residents it is a sad day for us all. The program in its current state is unable to provide a meaningful contribution to the overwhelming need for improved solutions for those most at risk," the society said in a statement. "The decision by the ALC fundamentally prevents the Creating Homefulness Society from making a significant contribution to the fight against homelessness and addiction."
The farm was already offering a grassroots treatment program for up to eight homeless people, or those recovering from drug addictions.
Only four people are currently living on the farm, and they'll be transition into safe and stable housing, according to the society.
In a statement, the society that runs Woodwynn Farms says four remaining residents on the land will be transitioned into housing. pic.twitter.com/SVFSHC5A8z— CTV News VI (@CTVNewsVI) January 18, 2018
"We are hopeful that we can pay all outstanding debts associated with the program and shut down in a respectful manner to all who contributed so greatly to the project," it said.
Some lauded the farm's efforts in the face of an opioid crisis that claimed a record number of lives in 2017, but it faced resistance from a city council that said its proposals for expansion had fallen short of being adequate.
It faced another setback last October, when a fire destroyed a camper that housed some of those living on the farm.