Tsartlip First Nation (TFN) is taking steps to honour a heritage barn in Central Saanich built in 1887. Commonly known as one of the Woodwynn Farms Barns, it is one of two barns on the property with heritage value linked to early pioneering days in the community that must be removed due to its deteriorated condition.
The main barn seen from West Saanich is not coming down - the barn in question is located adjacent to it.
TFN acquired the former Woodwynn Farm property from the provincial government in December 2020, land that was originally part of Tsartlip traditional territory.
An independent engineering assessment commissioned by BC Housing prior to the property transfer found the Woodwynn Farms Barn “is not safe to occupy and is at risk of collapse.” Conservation was not recommended due to the unsafe condition of the buildings: “Due to the amount of deterioration … we recommend the barn be demolished.”
Both the municipality and Tsartlip First Nation recognize the historical importance of Woodwynn Farm to the community. Consequently, Tsartlip is taking steps to preserve the barn materials.
“We will salvage as much of the wood as possible for reuse in ways that respect and reflect the history of the barn,” says Tsartlip Chief Don Tom. “And we will donate some reclaimed wood to the municipality, so the District of Central Saanich can also use the lumber in ways that acknowledge the past.
“We would keep the barns if their condition wasn’t dangerous, because our community needs barn space. But we explored all the options and determined the best course is to follow the independent report’s recommendation to remove the barn.”
“While it’s going to be sad to see the barn go, I am thankful for the efforts being put into salvaging the wood and commemorating it,” says Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor.
In addition, Tsartlip First Nation will document the work done onsite for historical reference and will share this information and photos with District staff for their records. The municipality will share these materials with the Saanich Pioneer Society to archive in the Log Cabin Museum, as a way for the community to commemorate the site. If the public would like to share photos or stories with the archives, please email SaanichPioneerSociety@Outlook.com.