Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I support Woodwynn Therapeutic Community

I support Woodwynn Therapeutic Community at historic Woodwynn Farm wholeheartedly, because I believe that this is a wonderful, caring, community use for a long under-utilised farm. I will never vote to rezone Woodwynn for permanent residential housing or allow it to be carved up for subdivisions, this promise is written in stone.

The application sent to the ALC is for non-farm use on a portion of the land and 100% of Woodwynn will remain in the ALR.

The buildings being proposed have been designed to be easily moved, and Woodwynn has offered a covenant to put monies in trust to remove the buildings should the program be closed. All over the world land used for everything from housing to the most poisoned industrial purposes is rehabilitated and used for farming and nothing planned here would be difficult to reverse.
The Woodwynn Community has already shown their care and concern for the farm in many ways including

·         rehabilitatating  the creek (with the help of Peninsula Streams) by planting 200 native trees, shrubs and grasses along its edge

·         extensively repairing the buildings

·         planting over 400 fruit and nut trees

·         planting 180 blue spruce

·         planting 12 garry oaks and 12 maples

·         planting a 2 acre vegetable garden  (the first vegetables grown and harvested on this land since First Nations harvested the native plants)

·         increasing the hay crop

·         installing 6 bluebird boxes (this was done by the Garry Oak RestorationTeam)

·         raising pigs
The people who have come to the farm so far have done well and have caused no harm to the community in any way.  New lives have begun and the testimonials from parents and others are inspiring to read.

The volunteerism fostered here is extensive and goes a long way to creating a respect for farming in the wider community:

·         over 2,000 individual volunteers have come to work on the farm, some for an hour others putting in 50 hour weeks

·         85 five year old girls (Sparks from the girl guide movement) came to the farm with their parents and had a wonderful day building a new pond and filling it with plants and fish

·         local farmers have been helping by providing advice, expertise and equipment

·         elementary schools, middle schools and high schools have come to the farm (St Michaels has been a few times) as well as groups of students from UVic, Camosun and Royal Roads who are currently planning a fund and awareness raising event for the farm

·         Church and community groups come to volunteer and use their experience as a team building exercise

·         3,500 attended the Open House held earlier this year and a steady flow has come to the farm market (that started slowly but ramped up as word got out)
Many of the homeless or nearly homeless in downtown Victoria are from Central Saanich and use services provided by other municipalities. I believe that we must do more to support the region in its efforts to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. This is a piece we can do that fits our community well.

This use is a good use.  I support it because I understand the need.

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