It started as a refuge to house former drug users and help them stay clean. But the philanthropists behind Central Saanich’s Woodwynn Farms say after eight-and-a-half years, they are pulling the plug and selling the property.
In a statement, Woodwynn Farms’ Board of Directors said, “Woodwynn Farm has no choice but to shut down operations and sell the property.” The board also states tha “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.”
Late last year, the Agricultural Land Commission denied a request to build housing for forty people on the property.
Executive director Richard Leblanc said the decision is disappointing.
“I’m incredibly shocked that after all of this time, and effort, that it’s all coming down. I’m shocked that we’ve got people who are going to continue to die on our streets, and could be helped, and die unnecessarily,” Leblanc said. “An opioid crisis and homelessness crisis that continue to mushroom. The issues are bigger today than when I started.”
“The focus of the Society will now be to ensure that the four remaining residents of the farm are transitioned into safe and stable housing. 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.”
There is no word on when the farm will officially close its doors.