Central Saanich says no to tent city

Temporary homeless camp at Woodwynn Farms may be on its last legs

Woodwynn Farms newest project

Woodwynn Farms newest project

The temporary homeless camp at Woodwynn Farms may be on its last legs after Central Saanich council announced Monday night that it would take action against Richard Leblanc’s latest project.

“We now have documented complaints and we will take action on the bylaw,” said Coun. Cathie Ounsted who was acting mayor during that portion of the council meeting, as Mayor Alastair Bryson, who lives on a property adjacent to Woodwynn, excused himself from the council chambers citing a conflict of interest.

Previously the municipality said there had been no complaints from residents about the farm setting up the camp and therefore the bylaw wasn’t rigidly enforced. Since then, several letters came in to the district with complaints.

Leblanc, the farm’s executive director, said Woodwynn had yet to receive any complaints directed to them.

“We haven’t heard from anyone complaining about noise or anything,” he said. “And you’d think if there were any major concerns about safety or fire that they’d be moving more quickly. But at this point we haven’t heard anything from [the municipality] so we’re just waiting to see what happens and we’ll take our next steps from there.”

Leblanc and members of the Creating Homefulness Society, which runs the farm, set up the camp that was designed to take in almost 100 homeless people at Woodwynn in the first week of July. The tent city was a response to the farm being denied approval from the Agricultural Land Commission to run programs and house homeless on Agricultural Land Reserve.

 

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