The District and Council are supportive of rehabilitation facilities provided they are zoned appropriately and meet building codes. We have the utmost respect for the participants at Woodwynn Farm and the society’s goal of providing more addiction rehabilitation options.
It is our understanding Woodwynn Farms has sufficient safe housing for participants without depending on the recreational vehicles. Council intends to meet with the Creating Homefulness Society board in the New Year.
Why were no occupancy notices posted?
Following a recreation vehicle fire on October 31, 2017, at Woodwynn Farms, a site inspection on November 29, 2017, with two Provincial Electrical Inspectors revealed the wiring to these recreational vehicles was a life safety hazard. The operators of the farm have been previously advised on numerous occasions since April 2017 that the RVs did not comply with the zoning or building codes as dwelling units. The District is not in a position to overlook these hazards. Providing safety oversight to reduce hazards and prevent accidents is important. Due to the recent fire and concern for safety of occupants, the district posted No Occupancy notices on the RVs.
Why can’t the farm build more housing?
The society that purchased the land chose agricultural land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. In March 2017, Woodwynn Farm applied to the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission to “Conduct a Non-Farm Use activity within the ALR” to construct accommodations for 40 people on two acres of the land. (All land use changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve must first be approved by the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission—a provincial authority that regulates farmland across the province before coming back to the District of Central Saanich.). Council forwarded this application to the ALC for their consideration. In November 2017, the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission released their decision and they did not approve the non-farm use. In light of the ALC’s decision to deny the non-farm use, the District can not issue any approvals as the District’s bylaws would be inoperative.
Contact: Councillor Bob Thompson, (250) 812-1312