The buildings commonly known as the White Barn (just to the left, behind the building with the sign) and the Hay Barn (not pictured), were still standing May 3 but are slated to come down from the former Woodwynn Farms site in Central Saanich. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

The buildings commonly known as the White Barn (just to the left, behind the building with the sign) and the Hay Barn (not pictured), were still standing May 3 but are slated to come down from the former Woodwynn Farms site in Central Saanich. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Central Saanich issues demolition permits for two historic Woodwynn farm buildings

Councillors approved the demolition of the iconic White Barn and Hay Barn

Two historic farm buildings in Central Saanich (including one built in 1887) are coming down.

Council (with Coun. Zeb King opposed) decided last week against temporary protection measures for two barns on the former Woodwynn Farms site after the new owners of the property, Tsartlip First Nation, submitted an application for a demolition permit for seven buildings. The First Nation assumed possession of the former farmer in late December 2020.

The public had heard earlier from staff that the so-called White Barn (built by William Thomson in 1887) was structurally unsound and the so-called Hay Barn was nearing collapse.

Chief Don Tom said Monday morning in a press release that Tsartlip First Nation would have liked to keep the buildings if they were not unsafe. But the First Nation explored all options and determined the best course is to remove the barns, as per an independent engineering assessment commissioned by BC Housing prior to the property transfer.

“We will salvage as much of the wood as possible for reuse in ways that respect and reflect the history of the barn,” said Tom. “And we will donate some reclaimed wood to the municipality, so the District of Central Saanich can also use the lumber in ways that acknowledge the past.”

RELATED: Tsartlip First Nation takes possession of former Woodwynn Farm

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said it was going to be sad to see the White Barn come down, but thanked the Tsartlip Nation for their wood-salvaging and commemoration efforts.

Speaking last week, Coun. Bob Thompson called it a “tragedy” that previous owners allowed the buildings to deteriorate given their historic status and predicted the public will be shocked. Staff said the process did not require public notification. With these comments, Thompson echoed Coun. Gordon Newton, who called it a “shame” the buildings are coming down.

“They are part of our history in the community,” said Newton.

RELATED: Tsartlip First Nation can add former Woodwynn Farm to reserve but faces lengthy process

While both buildings appear on the municipality’s historic buildings inventory, council decided against a temporary protection order. The purpose of the order would have been to confirm the heritage significance of the building as part of an investigation that would have seen the municipality retain a heritage consultant to assess heritage significance as well as a structural engineer to assess structural integrity.

Staff recommended against such a move. “Based on the photos, (heritage conservation) of the hay barn is not realistic, and a temporary protection order on the larger barn is not recommended due to the condition, anticipated cost for repairs and potential compensation, and the lands being recently transferred to the Tsartlip First Nation,” reads a staff report.

If the municipality had given the buildings heritage designation, the municipality would have had to compensate the owner for any potential loss in value stemming from the designation, the public heard.

Tsartlip First Nation will document the work done onsite for historical reference and will share this information and photos with the municipality to be shared with the Saanich Pioneer Society Log Cabin Museum and Archives as a way for the community to commemorate the site. If the public would like to share photos or stories with the archives, email SaanichPioneerSociety@outlook.com.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read