Richard Leblanc

Letter: Woodwynn an example of ‘teach a man to fish’

There’s increasing frustration towards a government that seems to “throw money” at the problem without a seemingly clear goal

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the article re: Woodwynn Farms handed 30 day notice.

My husband and I have been following this story for quite some time. As a somewhat frequent visitor to Sombrio Beach in the 1980s, I’ve long since been an advocate for a system that helps addicts by removing them from the source of their addiction. Albeit termed a “squatter” commune at the time and eventually being repatriated by the province for use as a provincial park, it still became a shining example of the disenfranchised to live co-operatively, and most importantly, substance free.

Your article was very helpful in that it had the courtesy to inform readers that they could acquire further information about the farm by attending an information session and site tour Saturday’s from 1 to 3 p.m.  My husband and I took advantage of this opportunity and were very pleased we did. We were extremely impressed with the farm, the program and particularly, Richard Leblanc, the executive director.

At a time when there are so many conflicting opinions regarding homelessness and addiction, particularly in the wake of “tent city”, one opinion that is common to all is that a solution needs to be found. There’s increasing frustration towards a government that seems to “throw money” at the problem without a seemingly clear goal as to eradicating it. Although well intentioned, the government’s latest housing initiatives and proposed safe injection sites only serve to perpetuate the revolving door of addiction while alienating people who  see the government’s efforts as just more enabling.

There is an alternative. I would encourage everyone to visit the site at Woodwynn Farm, make an informed opinion and let your voices be heard if you support this forward approach to a near endemic problem that affects us all.

It would be a shame if Central Saanich council were to make a decision on this program based on a very few dissenters because their vast amount of supporters and volunteers work tirelessly but silently. This is an exemplary example of “teach a man to fish”.

Kim Shepherd

Central Saanich