Richard Leblanc, executive director of Woodwynn Farms (File)

Richard Leblanc, executive director of Woodwynn Farms (File)

Woodwynn Farms participants crash MLA’s office

Olsen said politicians can’t overturn ALC decision

Clients of Woodwynn Farms and executive director Richard Leblanc went to MLA Adam Olsen’s constituency office on Dec. 15 to meet with him and voice their concerns. The meeting, which was unscheduled, came one day after the District of Central Saanich staff placed ‘no occupancy’ signage on RVs and washrooms on the property and approximately a month after the provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) denied their application to build temporary housing for up to 40 people on the property.

In a video posted to Facebook Live, Leblanc asked, “Can we count on your support? That’s the big question.”

Olsen replied, “I have always said, Richard, always, all along, that I support the utilization of agricultural land. I have always said that it is a farm operation on agricultural land as long as it’s put in [those] terms to put the applications forward.”

Leblanc, who came to his office with a sample of the food products made on the farm, said they are farming every day, with “over 400 livestock at one point this summer.” Leblanc asked Olsen to “work with us instead of throwing [up] roadblocks and roadblocks.”

“I’ve always put forward ways in which the farm can be successful in the applications,” said Olsen. “I’ve always worked with you on that side of it. Unfortunately, that’s not always how I’ve been characterized, but that’s the business that we’re in.”

In a follow-up interview, Leblanc said the meeting was awkward.

“Obviously we put Adam on the spot but I was hoping to get his attention. I think we were successful,” said Leblanc, adding he liked Olsen on a personal level.

In a ruling dated Nov. 9, 2017, the ALC Executive Committee wrote that its own mandate was to “preserve agricultural land and encourage farming on agricultural land in collaboration with other communities of interest. While the Executive Committee recognizes the social benefits of the proposal, it does not outweigh the priority given to agriculture.”

The ruling also felt that “farm worker accommodation should be commensurate with the level of agriculture on the Property,” and that current and proposed levels of agricultural activities would be “insufficient to justify the placement of 40 farm worker accommodations.”

Olsen said he would base his level of support on how the meeting goes between Woodwynn, the District of Central Saanich and himself. In a follow-up interview, Olsen told the Peninsula News Review that because the ‘no occupancy’ order was within local jurisdiction, he could not influence it.

Olsen said he had spoken to Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South, on the issue before she became Minister of Agriculture, but that they had not spoken about these latest developments. Olsen said that as a Minister, Popham cannot direct the ALC to rule one way or another because it is an independent body. However, Olsen said he would meet with Minister Popham about the ALR and the ALC at a high level in the new year.

If you or someone you know has ever been a client of Woodwynn Farms and want to share your experience, e-mail reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Mieran Loira, who works at Moxie’s restaurant on Yates Street, was named a winner in the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s #StandUpForService campaign. (Courtesy Town Hall Brands)
Victoria Moxies server can’t hide her smile, earns provincial kudos for pandemic work

Personality, charisma shine despite masks, coronavirus challenges

The price of gas is way up in many parts of Greater Victoria after a Monday afternoon surge sent it to 162.9 cents per litre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gas prices surge to 162.9 cents a litre at some Greater Victoria stations

Prices jumped up more than 10 cents Monday afternoon

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Sale of oceanfront property in Metchosin yields new record for Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch sold to an undisclosed buyer

Research into the city of Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic shows things to be moving in the right direction. (Photo courtesy City of Victoria)
Data shows Victoria experiencing gradual economic recovery

Statistics for early 2021 show promising returns as Victoria 3.0 begins to take hold

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read