Readers Comments

Amanda

My question is how irresponsible and irrational is the government when funding a project like this and shutting down psychiatric wards and taking away funding from programs that have a proven track record of succeeding in making a difference in the lives of people with mental disabilities such as the majority of the homeless population everywhere.

I think it’s a great idea and there should be more done as a community to give a person whose life has taken a wrong turn a second chance without judgement or prejudice. However, sending a person who has a dependency on drugs back into the battle field every night with readily available supplies for their habit, peer pressure, stress and to face the reality of their life – They have no real chance of succeeding in their addiction.

Are psychiatric evaluations going to be conducted on each individual to see if they are in the right place to even be able to start a program like this?

Where will they be detoxing and will this be done in a monitored environment with experienced medical experts ? Or is continued drug use acceptable while in the program ?

Will expectations be set on the person enrolled in the program? Will they be kicked out of the program if they continue their drug use as that would affect the others involved in the program if they see someone else relapsing.

What are the rules ? What are the requirements of persons involved ?

Who is monitoring the program? Psychiatrists ? Dr.’s? Someone with credibility, education, experience and a proven track record of improving the lives of the homeless and mentally disabled?

Some people who would be involved in the program are not just homeless but mentally ill. A sad and dangerous disease which takes control of peoples minds, bodies and livelihoods. If nothing is implemented to address and improve this aspect of their lives I see no improvement in ones life just because they are shipped to a farm by day and able to live that life for a couple hours a day and shipped back to the streets at night.

More needs to be done to treat the root of the problem. Which I believe is a lack of diagnosed and treated people with metal illness. Of course it will cost a lot of money to fund programs and medication available to the people who need it but so will this project.

Athough I may not have a lot of faith in this program with the information that has been given so far, I do hope Richards intentions are pure and it does save lives if it does go through.

August 18, 2009, 3:49 AM

Employee

“Food agencies like Mustard Seed and St. Vincent de Pauls with limited supplies and turning people away constantly…” (Lets be realistic eh)

I work at the Mustard Seed, and while a few people may be asked to return at our open hours rarely is anyone eligible for a grocery hamper denied service.

August 17, 2009, 11:48 PM

Kate

As someone who is familiar with the land as well as dealing with recovering addicts I have couple concerns.

1. I can’t help but feel shuttling people back and forth is counter productive. I believe giving recovering addicts a chance to turn their life around through the Woodwynn Farm project is a wonderful idea. But how will it work when the addicts/volunteers have to be exposed to the streets at the end of the day.?

2. The plan includes Berry fields, orchards, beekeeping and horse training among other things. The idea is “Eating foods they themselves grow will be a part of the physical, emotional and spiritual healing process for participants.” Again this is a wonderful idea, but where are the medical experts? In my experience frequent medical attention is very important to the recovery of any addict. I would have found a Dr. before I found the horse whisperer.

3. What if this plan doesn’t work?

I’m not trying to be negative I just want to know more facts and less idea’s.

August 17, 2009, 11:40 PM

Lets be realistic eh

I guess, while trying to be optimistic about this whole endeavor, 3 things come to mind.

1.) Shouldn’t the real question be; do the homeless have a couple years to wait around while we “trial and error” programs with money that could be used immediately for necessary items like clothing for this winter, food supplements and purchasing viable living areas now? Nice that you’re looking long term while sitting in your comfortable houses and with food (unspoiled) in a working refrigerator, money to have internet and to go out for specialty coffees (can’t spell half the names like “mochacostmorethanyoucarachinos”).

I get the feeling that a lot of people (most, truly) are really out of touch with how extreme things are these days with so many more people out of work, costs so high, so much negativity in the air. Soup Kitchens that have to turn people away constantly for not having enough food or seating time. Food agencies like Mustard Seed and St. Vincent de Pauls with limited supplies and turning people away constantly and only a couple of small rotation shelters working with Streetlink and Salvation Army to house all that will need it this winter.. ask around if you’re truly interested and they’ll tell you the true tales of woe.

2) I did look up those farms DAVE IN OREGON, and one thing stuck out quite prominently. They used a “community” idealism to help people, and that works. We have no “community” here.. it’s rich and poor. Help yourself or you’re a worthless piece of skin (from the comments here I’ve read). They also had a plan and program for “every individual”. It was also started back in the ’90’s when things didn’t cost so much and we still understood “community”.

Right now, here, we have no plan that I’ve seen or heard other than “possibilities”… oh Mr. Leblanc does have a nice new truck.. cool.

If anyone does google those “working farms” in the states pay attention to the fact that individuals took part in the “transitional employment, job training and related services program”. That means there was a “PROGRAM” setup to do this, with Govt funding, etc, while Mr. Leblanc has no such program, just ideas.

Also, wouldn’t you have a “time-table” and financial plan to show how you intend to progress this “idea” before buying a farm, truck, getting mare whisperers, etc? I would love to see his proposal, written out in form for my and others right to check over, if there is one please post the link.

Again, for all the accreditation the program could bring to the people of Victoria and all their magnanimosity about the homeless issue, this does not deal with homelessness directly as we, the community, and we the people who are without the necessities of life, are understanding it.

3.) Without community, we have nothing. And Victoria, in the looming horizon of the Olympics, doesn’t care today about our problems. They’d rather “wait and see” and hope someone else takes care of the problem.

Homeless people are dying at a rapid rate.. they weren’t iconic singers or painters so you don’t hear about them in the news, therefore it’s an outta sight outta mind situation. You may have years to wait around and see what happens, but a lot of homeless don’t have that time-frame.

If you want this problem to go away you have to be involved, everyone, every man, woman & child in the whole Vancouver Island. Then, and only then, will it work, because then you have community.

Here in Victoria, it’s a You and Me situation, not Us, not Our. Therefore, by that design, it will never work.

Prove me wrong.

August 17, 2009, 2:51 PM

Tired of Apathy

I think that what the creating homefulness society is doing is new, original and ambitious and thats why “nobody” wants to hear about it.

Whenever someone comes along with an idea like this it gets absolutely pounded by people who revert to the “its never going to happen” mentality. Those people are likely the same ones who don’t even show up to vote in our elections because its that same “one person doesnt make a difference” attitude.

Heres my suggestion: rather than just slagging the project to the point where you are making the lead guy look like some kind of corrupt developer, why not think about it for 5 minutes or acctually have the patience to see what happens.

Pick up a shovel, grab a paint brush, or continue you sit at your computer with your opinions and blog them all around the interent until the tips of your fingers go raw… how productive one can be. I mean quite honestly, in the time it took Mr. Pink to come up with his o-so inspiring rant he could have released some of his tension thwarting a blackberry bush.

So maybe in the mean time either be part of the solution, or sit back and watch the progress, no body is forcing you to donate an hour or two of your computer/TV time.

August 17, 2009, 11:11 AM

Concerned

I admire the concept of helping people to get their lives on track using a program such as Homefulness suggests. It would seem essential though that these people would have to be housed on site to make it work properly.

Also, at this stage of clearing brambles, painting etc. think of all the possible workers we could find.There could be work parties of street people bussed in or perhaps prisoners from Wilkinson Road who are near to completeing their sentences, or anyone else who has been required by the courts to do hours of Community service.

August 17, 2009, 2:29 AM

SC

Get real! If all Richard Leblanc was looking for was a comfy country acerage to live on, he could have found a much easier way to do it than putting himself in the firing line of what appear to be selfish and abusive human beings. Perhaps Richard LeBlanc actually knows something that you don’t because he has worked on a on-to-one basis with street people, and found that he was able to help them turn their lives around to become healthy, functioning members of society. Could it be that he actually cares about others and is not just “in it for the money.” But then maybe you aren’t capable of understanding that. Perhaps if the critical among you hussled yourselves downtown and actually spent some time helping and interacting with the people on the streets, you might actually get to know what is really happening, but you don’t. You sit in your comfy homes and criticize and judge, and by doing this you actually perpetuate the social problems that exist. How about trying to be a part of the solution instead of the problem!

August 17, 2009, 1:39 AM

Dave in Oregon

I am shocked at the level and depth of negativity expressed by such bitter souls here as ‘Mr. Pink’ and ‘Tried of the Sentimental.’ You should be ashamed of yourselves for suggesting that there is some ill motive on Mr. Le Blanc’s part. This is clearly the noblest of experiments! It has already been proven that giving homeless people opportunities for self support is therapeutic. And sustainable farming work in particular is quite therapeutic – if only for those who stick with it long enough to learn much. To grow our own food (and enough for others too) appeals to our better instincts, and can make for very healthy community. This approach is also relatively good for the environment – to the extent that they emphasize local economic development, low impact methods, and organics. In the U.S. where homeless people are treated overall more poorly than in Canada, there is a fast growing awareness that we have been getting it quite wrong for a long time now. Too often we just hand food and services and programs to people without asking anything back in the way of self support. Work is part of what makes us human. Self-support is what gives people the kind of dignity that makes them less likely to languish in self-medicating despair, or hopeless dependency. Let’s support Woodwynn – and every honest effort to give self support opportunities to the homeless! Naturally many homeless people might be skeptical at first, especially with all this poisonous criticism. And naturally, many people will avoid a program that stresses work until they actually see it succeeding. To the homeless who may be reading this, I encourage you to take a chance! Stand with Mr. Le Blanc and learn the basics of sustainable agriculture, and you will find yourself closer to your own best nature. Whether Woodwynn succeeds or fails, you will be better off for even having tried to be more self-supportive in this healthy way. Google up ‘Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA’ (U.S.) for an example of a sustainable farm for the homeless which – for eighteen years now – has helped hundreds of homeless people to acquire skills, build confidence, develop better work habits, and get physically healthier. We need lots more such experiments. Addicts in recovery do better too, by the way, when given work in rural settings. Google also ‘Blanchet Farm, Portland, OR’ (U.S.) for a working example of this. Rural work-focused programs are far more successful than urban programs, and are well worth the money that way.

August 17, 2009, 12:18 AM

Tired of sentimental crap

Recall that LeBlanc did apply to rezone the farm to residential and institutional zoning but was denied. I expect more rezoning applications to come. Also recall that LeBlanc did not notify the affected community of a presentation to the public of his proposal to run Woodwynn Therapeutic Community out of Woodwyn farm. Residents found out via word of mouth.

Some questions…

What type of therapeutic training does LeBlanc have? From what I can find, he was a contractor until 1996. What type of contractor?

What will happen to the property if there are no street people/volunteers to work it? What is LeBlanc’s plan in that scenario?

Some observations…

Residence (living together) is usually a crucial component of the community aspect of a therapeutic community so I am wondering the success rate of therapeutic farms without the community.

I find it troubling that the board of directors for Woodwynn Therapeutic Farm does not include a psychiatrist or psychologist or anyone trained in mental health treatments.

And let me say that I resent the sentimental crap that some have communicated: if you truly mean what you write & support helping homeless people, then maybe you should walk the talk and offer to take one into your home for the duration of their treatment and transport them to & from the farm.

August 16, 2009, 6:40 PM

MC2

I think that Richard Leblanc is doing an excellent service for the downtown community. Homelessness didn’t start last night or last week. It takes more time & patience.

People who complain about this project need to keep quiet. It is a huge issue that has no simple solutions.

August 16, 2009, 6:33 PM

JJ in Victoria

If all the work is always going to be done by volunteers, then what exactly is the POINT of this place? Oh yes, Leblanc wanted to live there and collect a salary, that’s about it. I guess the homeless will show up for their horse whispering lessons? I wonder if this charitable society is publishing the salaries of Leblanc and the other paid employees? Somehow I doubt that they will. Why on earth they chose a site on the peninsula instead of in the cowichan valley where they would have paid MUCH less for a turn-key site where the homeless could actually LIVE as well as work just makes NO sense at all… I guess Mr Leblanc didn’t want to live with all the blue collar types on the west side of the bay.

August 16, 2009, 8:52 AM

Confused

If this place is for homeless people to work (who wouldn’t be homeless if they did work) why in heaven’s name are they not there now working to fix-up something that is for them anyway?? Do they want to work? … has anyone asked them?

August 16, 2009, 1:31 AM

TC

With the knowledge that this land is part of the ALR – they bought the property – below is the rules of the ALR – and the reason they are not allowed to house 90 people. Many farms in the area – have the same issue with housing farm help.

The land is one parcel – they bought this land and will not be allowed to house the homeless…..the area does not have 90 accomidations within the immediate area to house the people, and the bus system is inadequate…..so how is that for a workable business plan, slick! But hey when you are using other peoples money for a dream – what have you got to lose! Pehaps a few wealthy people when they realise what they donated their money for……….nice snow job

Note below the rules that govern the property they purchased knowing the rules. Do not blame the Central Saanich Council – they do not govern these rules – nor have the power to change them.

From the ALR web site;

How many dwellings are permitted per parcel?

One single family dwelling per land registry parcel is permitted within the ALR. In addition, one secondary suite within a single family dwelling and one manufactured home up to 9 m in width, for use by the owner’s immediate family are also permitted, unless otherwise prohibited by a local government bylaw. Additional permanent dwellings may be permitted if they are required for full time, legitimate, bone fide farm operations.

All farms in the area in the ALR have to follow the rules and they have bone fide farms – PS – you are mistaken to think area residence are all rich people who do not care. Many are working class folks paying mortgages …..and the Farmland trust folks just had a different idea on how to perserve the jewel – at least their plan worked within the rules of the ALR.

August 16, 2009, 1:19 AM

Izaak

It touched my heart to see so many volunteers at work. To do something to make this world a better world is far better than criticism. I do hope that one day soon the homeless can find a home at Woodwynn Farm not only to work but to live there as well. Where is our mercy and love to share what we enjoy with those less fortunate!

August 16, 2009, 12:13 AM

Bona Fide Farmer

So, what to make of Richard Leblanc’s therapeutic farm proposal:

1. Downtown businesses saw the therapeutic farm concept as a means of getting rid of the homeless from their storefronts and relocating them to a rural warehouse. Out of sight is out of mind, and good for business. In fact many of those that support relocation of the homeless to rural areas opposed needle exchanges and homeless shelters being located near their downtown businesses. Hypocricy.

2. Richard LeBlanc knew the property was in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) prior to purchase. He plans developing housing, cafes and smoothie bars on this ALR parcel. In the past, other bona fide farmers with copious space on their ALR properties have been denied development permission by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). What makes Richard LeBlanc’s proposal so special that the ALR rules should be bent specially for him? How do other farmers apply to be given similar consideration?

3. This farm will be able to dump subsidized farm products on the market to the detriment of local farmers who do not have well meaning wealthy benefactors or charity tax status. How many downtown businesses that supported the subsidized charity farm concept would support subsidized charity businesses that would compete directly with them? None.

4. I am quite certain that wealthy benefactors, downtown business owners and government will do whatever it takes to bring this farm to reality. Bully the locals into submission and bend the rules that other bona fide farmers must follow. There will be millions needed for housing, farm buildings, greenhouses, tractors, farm equipment, a sewage treatment system, diesel, gasoline… Open your pocketbooks people and welcome to the wonderful world of farming where fantasy gives way to reality.

August 15, 2009, 10:57 PM

LYNNE

I see the farm as a sign of hope for people who often feel themselves to be in a hopeless situation, and I will do what I can to support it; however I despair when I read the continual negative comments about people with mental health and addiction issues. I think it is obvious that anyone whom could manage a better life would not choose a life on the street

August 15, 2009, 10:14 PM

Ambrose

This is beautiful. I hope it works out.

August 15, 2009, 8:00 PM

len

house the homeless at the farm. Get them to renovate it.Central saanich council are selfish and narrow minded.

August 15, 2009, 7:37 PM

Mr. Pink

Well, some are calling me bitter and cynical, and suggesting I volunteer on the farm. Brother, I did more time working with addicts, street people, homless and inmates than you could possibly imagine… so I have walked the walk, and I now can talk the talk. The only horse I hear talking is the one saying: ” Neighhhh, neighhhh.” Horse whisperer translation : in english that would be “NAY” to this scam. Guess what? There are no street people camped outside the gate to the farm… no needles being dumped there and no feces, vomit blood and urine like you see in any business doorway in the downtown area. I think it would be wonderful to move the disease ridden addicts and street people, panhandlers and criminals out to the farm. But, it won’t happen. So rather than pretend this is anything more than a land grab for future development, let’s cut the bull.

The same money could be spent in the vacant downtown industrial sites (Chinatown, or the gas works) providing atco trailers for shelter, cookshacks, showers and a medical clinc. And the people could WALK there.

August 15, 2009, 6:20 PM

Aaron

col0320 has it right on the money!

If someone is really motivated to turn their life around, I doubt they’ll need to come out to Brentwood and work on a farm.

The questions that should be addressed, before a project like this even comes into existence, are:

How do we get the homeless out there? Where will they stay? WHY will they stay? What will be the community impact? How is this going to be more beneficial than programs already available? What happens to the land if the project never gets off the ground, after all the work volunteers have put in, will it become a private residence? Where is the risk assessment?

August 15, 2009, 5:38 PM

AGE of Victoria.

From what I see here is that, there will always be a need for money to keep this project going. People out here are already having a hard time making ends meet. Now with the HST, there will be nothing left in the bucket to donate for anything. How come some people are already on payroll before this place could even get off the ground ?. By the way if people want to be part of society to help the needy, they should not be complaining about the quality of the food which are served at the soup kitchens. I think that this is a damn shitty attitude. Good luck !.

August 15, 2009, 5:01 PM

Bob Parker

This is a perfect opportunity for these unfortunate people to learn some trade and work skills and at the same time renovate this place. This should be a hand-up, not a hand-out.

August 15, 2009, 4:34 PM

Central Saanich Resident.

Think about it. If LeBlanc REALLY wanted to house the homeless, he would have chosen a property which was actually appropriate for housing the homeless. But no. He chose a place where no homeless could be housed, because what LeBlanc wanted was to house LeBlanc, and get others to pay for it and work for it. If it was actually helping the homeless, and if the property was actually appropriate for what he’s feigning to use it for, there would likely be much more support. There are other appropriate properties which would have been turn key for people to move into and begin farming if that was truly the goal. For example – Glen Airlee in Sooke, which the Sisters of Saint Ann would have probably been delighted to sell to an organization such as LeBlancs – IF what he was truly trying to do was help. IF he was truly helping – we’d be seeing the homeless housed now, and the program running.

August 15, 2009, 4:26 PM

Robert

WOW.. the people that have been helping with “volunteering” give your collective heads a shake, let the ones benefiting from this land do the grunt work. Once these “homeless people” retreat there they will undoubtedly become a community eyesore, the thieves, the needle droppers on your school grounds and parks and will be moved back to the downtown streets. What happens next? Oh lets just put condos for the silly rich on this property. Man, the Land Conservancy will come out smelling like roses and the public “volunteers” shot in the ass once again. And the tax payers?? shot in the collective ass once again. This land would be better left for someone that knows how to grow a turnip and other vegetables and send to the Mustard Seed because the homeless people will never live outside where the free handouts are. The tourists and the good hearted people of downtown Victoria.

August 15, 2009, 4:09 PM

in my opinion

GORDON CAMPBELL, IAN THOW, AND EVERY OTHER CORRUPT BC BUSINESSMAN, AND EVERY LAZY TWO-FACED BC LIBERAL MLA STABBING US IN THE BACK, AND ALL OF THEIR FRIENDS AND OWNERS, PLUS THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR THEM, SHOULD BE MADE TO DO HARD LABOUR FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES FOR CREATING THE HOMELESS SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE WITH THEIR PATHETIC TAX CUT THAT ONLY THE WEALTHY GOT AFTER NEW TAXES ANJD USER FEES -‘NUFF SAID!!??

August 15, 2009, 4:01 PM

JOhn

After reading the comments, I can assure you that survival becomes a living for a lot of homeless and poor people.

Their minds become infected and are not capable to look even after themselves,

Let alone, contribute to being integrated into society.

I am one of those who helps to feed the poor and homeless, it is very rewarding indeed.

Thank you to all of you who give of your self

“The poor we will always have with us”.

August 15, 2009, 3:52 PM

col0320

Let me see if I have this picture straight. These people are homeless because they don’t want to work, yet you all want them to work on the farm!!!

Am I missing something here or are they all smokin’ something strange at this place? Duhhhh!

August 15, 2009, 3:30 PM

BrentwoodBay Lover

I have to commend the Homefulness Society for their selfless hard work. I have zero sympathy for the Farmlands Trust folks. Their underhanded smear tactics have failed – suggesting the Homefulness Society has an agenda to re-zone and sell off condos or similar is pretty rich considering they also have a financial interest in their multi-million-dollar real estate values and may be merely NIMBYs. Few people are willing to help these downtrodden homeless, but count me as on board to help my fellow man. There will be homeless working there soon enough .. and they need to integrate with us lucky well-off folks to transition out of their destructive cycles. So volunteers are needed to clean and work alongside the homeless. So far, there is absolutely zero basis to criticize the new owners of Woodwyn Farm! Three cheers for them.

August 15, 2009, 2:56 PM

taxslave

Have to wonder why volunteers and presumably tax money somewhere are needed to clean this farm up for the homeless. They don’t have homes or jobs anyway let them try some manual labour for a while cleaning the place up. Also those blackberries can be harvested and sold in another week or so. Be interesting to see if any homeless actually help with the harvest.

August 15, 2009, 2:56 PM

taxslave

Have to wonder why volunteers and presumably tax money somewhere are needed to clean this farm up for the homeless. They don’t have homes or jobs anyway let them try some manual labour for a while cleaning the place up. Also those blackberries can be harvested and sold in another week or so. Be interesting to see if any homeless actually help with the harvest.

August 15, 2009, 2:56 PM

Peter

As cynical and resentful as I usually am towards most homeless in Victoria (the Pandora St and Store St. crowd who are an open sore on Victoria) I must say that I do have high hopes for this project. I do agree that able-bodied homeless people and probationees/parolees with community service orders should be deployed to assist in the reclamation and remediation of the grounds. There are several valid reasons why the site can not be used for housing at this point. There are so many codes and laws that would be applied that it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Eventually, after some demonstrated success this could be overcome, but for now it’s best just to get the place running first. It would be nice to know what other programs will be offered. Horse whispering just doesn’t cut it for me, there has to be some tangible life skills and coping skills development offered here and not just the holistic approach. I would be interested in volunteering some of my time and skills with the remediation if there is anyone here who can provide the contact info. I wish them Godspeed.

August 15, 2009, 2:50 PM

mac

Why did the society not look into the on site housing problem, before they got involved in trying to make this farm viable? Has this plan ever worked anywhere else? I don’t think that the homeless care one way or the other, except that they don’t want to leave downtown.

August 15, 2009, 2:46 PM

Gord

HAHAHAHAHA What a joke!!!!!!!!!

While I’m in full support of helping the homeless and poor… this is not the answer. This is a scam.. a big one at 5+ million dollars already and climbing.. and yet not one homeless person or poor has been helped other than those nice people who are donating time to clean it up (gee I helped the poor by cleaning up a property they can’t live on, eat at, work at, or anything for a long “unknown” time yet). Thanks.. I’m sure you’ll sleep better at night knowing you helped someone make money by using poor and homelessness topics as a cash cow.

Why was the property even purchased if they knew going into it that they wouldn’t be able to house those they say they’re there to help?? Especially when most of the “clients” will be people from a city core area rather than a rural one. Then there’s the transportation (how will they get there everyday?) issue.

Where are the “homeless” suppose to live while “working” out at this farm? Why is it they cannot live on the grounds? If the land’s been purchased and given “charitable status” why is it that the people it’s intended for cannot sleep there? Why did the Saanich council sell the property for the intended purpose if they knew they weren’t going to allow people to be housed on it? Just for artists painting frescoes?? “hope they don’t change too much because it’s so beautiful”.

New truck for the “farm” already and yet not a penny spent has helped those it was intended for (hrmmm… sounds like a Liberal program to me).

That money could have been invested in other lucrative areas and already be housing and helping those that it’s intended for.. yet so far only a couple of “paid” people are making anything out of this lovely farce.

So many unanswered questions BEFORE they purchased the property.. and yet they went ahead and spent money on something that could be years yet in the making.. provided it’s not just abandoned after a while and resold at a profit for a couple individuals.. meanwhile never having helped a single individual (client) that it’s meant to.

Winter’s coming.. and guess what.. no money for the homeless problem will be found or will be touted as “hard to find” yet we can throw almost 6 million out the window on a project that will never benefit one person it’s “intended for.”

Good one! That’s gotta be the best scam running.. next to the Liberals saying they won’t hurt the poor, elderly or homeless if you continue to elect them.

August 15, 2009, 2:37 PM

rcdc

To the homeless and the down on your luck. PLEASE>>>>>>>>>>go out and get this puppy ready. Work on something you can be proud of bringing back to life. YOU CAN DO THIS.

August 15, 2009, 2:15 PM

tom

so called homelessness is an industry in this town,good to see the entrepenural spirt alive and well,now how about the homeless do more than put their hands out.

August 15, 2009, 2:13 PM

chrisj

the fact that food at the shelters is unhealthy is not a reflection of the volunteers who serve it or cook it or even the people who donate it. In fact, it may not be all the different then the food in your cupboard.

Lots of white bread and processed meat. If food at the shelters is unhealthy, it has a lot to do with the fact that much of the food that is consumed and taken for granted in this country is unhealthy. Compared to local organic vegetables? Yeah, one can say it is healthier to eat local veggies. Duh.

Interesting to see all the negativity. I guess those people would rather just ignore the issue and let it run it’s course downtown.

August 15, 2009, 2:12 PM

alan

where will the homeless stay? Let them build a tent city right on the farm. That seems to be their preferred way to live and they won’t be hassled by the cops to get up and moving so early. Ask Reverend Al Tysick what is needed, I’m sure he can tell you exactly how to set it up. I don’t think it would be at all difficult to find 96 homeless folks who are willing to live rough on a farm and work a bit.

August 15, 2009, 2:11 PM

Mark

will there be a needle exchange at the farm for the street people ?

August 15, 2009, 2:03 PM

Gord

Good speculations by those posting their concerns.

Where ARE the people suppose to live? Why is it they cannot live on the farm? I don’t understand that… can someone explain why that is.. and if they knew that going into this project.. then how can they say this is for the “homeless and unfortunate” in our society when they most likely won’t even be allowed to set foot on it, unless monitored (by “paid” staff, I’m sure).

I’m looking at the numbers $$$-wise and wondering what kind of lunacy it is for the people who have undertaken this “resurrection” to say it’s to assist the homeless and such when they (the clients as it were) will not even be allowed to sleep there. Just what the hell are you thinking?

Don’t get me wrong, at least someone is doing SOMETHING at this time… but it most definitely IMHO will not be to serve the homeless.. it’s as some others mentioned, just a $$$$ grab for a few while the main issue is never rectified or addressed, just plowed under the topsoil like so much bullsh*t.

All that money spent to purchase this and fix up the property would most certainly have built some new housing and funded some other programs to help with food and shelter for a couple years now, starting now, rather than years down the road… instead we get to see an iconic landmark being exploited into “mare whispering” (bull whispering is exactly the right comment) and the new coffee shop and restaurant that will most definitely NOT be managed or worked by the homeless. They face far too many issues as it is (drug rehab, medical issues, etc) to be considered a “workforce” … so .. who exactly is gonna benefit from this.

1 or 2 people who’s “investment” will turn it into a cash cow that they can take to public slaughter… meanwhile the problem of homelessness and drugged out people will only continue to grow in our downtown core.

But hey.. someone’s making money on the problem so it’s all good right.

Just pathetic. We keep “hoping” that good will come of this.. guess we can only wait and see. Just like the homeless keep waiting for someone to quit Bull Whispering and actually lend a helping hand instead of using homelessness and drug addiction issues to make a quick buck.

August 15, 2009, 1:33 PM

You’re not too swift…

For the Director of this program and the reporter who just didn’t bother to do her homework.. The comment made in this article by the director of this program… “For a homeless person, everything that goes into their bodies is the worst of the worst. Drugs, alcohol, junk food, soup kitchen food. We are looking for the polar opposites.” ( The Soup Kitchen Comment) THE SOUP KITHCHEN FOOD IS THE SAME FOOD DELIVERED BY THE SAME MAJOR FOOD COMPANIES TO ALL ESTABLISHMENTS IN OUR CITY AND AREAS AROUND. PROBABELY THE CAMPANIES THAT WILL BE DELIVERING YOUR FOOD TO YOUR RANCH!! Do your resaerch first before making your comment on our soup kitchens and to the reporter…do a bit of research so you do look like you know what you’re reporting to us….

August 15, 2009, 1:13 PM

Marie C

You want this place for the homeless well they should be doing some work there too. The homeless people want to change their lives then start changing by cleaning up tis farm come on now !!!!

August 15, 2009, 12:53 PM

Ann/Sue/Mr.Pink

I feel sorry for you and for anybody else who looks at this project and just feels the need to dump their bitterness and cynicism all over it.

August 15, 2009, 12:39 PM

tom

“For a homeless person, everything that goes into their bodies is the worst of the worst. Drugs, alcohol, junk food, soup kitchen food.Well that remerk is certainly a slap in the face to all the people who bring food,the volunteers who cook it,the people who clean up afterwards,and then do it day after day,the worst of the worst?

Well I hope they enjoy their new farm retreat,The taxpayer is now going to pony up the cash for this shangrala

August 15, 2009, 12:38 PM

Just Thinking

I was thinking the same thing while I was reading the article about volunteers cleaning up the farm. Why don’t the homeless do the work instead of everyone else doing it. That makes a whole lot of sense to me. Would they not take pride in it after they finish.

August 15, 2009, 12:31 PM

John

Ann, how will the homeless get to the farm to work if they have nowhere to stay? Perhaps they could just sleep in the streets of Saanichton.

August 15, 2009, 12:29 PM

Central Saanich resident

Richard has it all figured out. Get other people to pay for the farm. Pretend it’s for the homeless, but don’t open it to them or to the public. Have other people do the work, and get paid to live there. Smart? Yes. Ethical? Absolutely not. This whole thing is a sham. In short order, we will hear of re-zoning. It is a thinly veiled land grab.

August 15, 2009, 12:28 PM

Greg

“acres of killer blackberry bushes…”

We’re going to make homeless people work amongst killer bushes? Where is the outraged commentary from Jody Patterson?!?

August 15, 2009, 12:27 PM

Toughlove

Its progression….people are putting in time and effort to help the homeless. Give it a chance. The homeless problem is only growing…and most everyone else just watches it grow. Good Luck to the Society.

August 15, 2009, 12:15 PM

Rose

Mrs woodward would have loved the idea of this farm for the homeless. Central Saanich council where our your senses. Think back to the woman she was and how she could be seen out on the farm in her knee high boots working her self. How about the times she spent at the fall fair ? She would be ashamed of your ignorant ways. She was a kind fair woman to all. How about showing some of that kindness back! Someone who knew her well from childhood.

August 15, 2009, 12:06 PM

cynical badman

Sue. 6 million dollars dived by 12 participants is $500,000.00 per participant not $50,000.00. You don’t happen to be an accountant for The Land Conservancy do you?

August 15, 2009, 11:59 AM

brian

mr pink’s comments are incredibly cynical and ignorant. He should try volunteering at the farm and find out what it is really all about.

August 15, 2009, 11:49 AM

rgc

Sue, check your math, it is actuallyb $500,000 per person,

and the new facility being built downtown for 16 people is a little over $1,000,000 per bedroom.

You could likely buy an existing motel / hotel for a lot less, and help bail out the operators.

I THINK THAT I AM IN THE WRONG BUSINESS I have to set up a charity for the homeless—–what a waste

August 15, 2009, 11:40 AM

Guy in Victoria

Typical. Where are the bums and homeless people right now?? They’re sitting on their behinds waiting for their beds to be made for them by other people. Why are they not out there cleaning the farm and helping out?? This is just like the Christmas present wrapping services at the malls during Christmas….by donation to help out the Mustard Seed Food Bank…..but the service is provided by able-bodied, already employed, volunteers. Where are the people who benefit from these services?? Can they not even work a little bit to help themselves?? Not even a thank you! I’ll give a thank you….thank you for getting these people off the streets of Victoria so I don’t have to look at them anymore.

August 15, 2009, 11:38 AM

joey

There ia a school not far from the farm that was closed last year that would make good living quarters for farm workers.

August 15, 2009, 11:17 AM

randall filan

i am still wondering why the socity did not purchase less expensive and better land with the proper zoning. there were several options which fit the bill. oh, yes…lovely new pick-up truck the society has bought. who is really benefiting from this deal and when will the books be open to the public? …and who will own the property when the society realizes that they have no cash flow?

August 15, 2009, 11:09 AM

Allie

Good luck with this project, it’s nice to see someone thinking outside the box as to what to do about the homeless problem in Victoria. It’s nice to see something other than a handout. I really with you the best of luck and hope to this turn some peoples live around, on the surface it sounds like a good way to move people up in life instead of just throwing money at them to keep them in the position they are at.

August 15, 2009, 11:08 AM

Won Dering

Volunteers??? Where are the homeless that will be housed there? Get them involved, let them help, start them on their way to betterment! And by the way, the comment about “worst of the worst” and including Soup Kitchen Food in that commment was uncalled for, shame on you, those folks do the best they can and a lot of local food companies donate good quality stuff to them.

August 15, 2009, 11:03 AM

Janice

I think this is a good thing, but someone is missing the point. The homeless need a place to sleep not down the road but right now. Why can’t the barns or other building be renovated so that they can sleep people for the time being. Or once the property is livable why can’t the homeless put up tents and shelters on the property. The city could put up portable washrooms and portable showers. Winter is coming and people need to have somewhere to go. This would also keep alot of the homeless off the downtown streets of Victoria which will keep the business owners and shoppers happy.

Most homeless people don’t want to go into shelters as they are afraid of getting the only stuff they own, stolen, plus they get infections etc from sleeping on mats from other people. This farm could be a great thing if it is done right and it is not just for show.

August 15, 2009, 11:00 AM

Sketchy

Is there a spot to park my shopping cart? Is this shack a good place to score rock? Do the neighbours leave their windows open and doors unlocked?

You will never change me from my chosen lifestyle!

But thanks again sucka…er taxpayer.

August 15, 2009, 10:54 AM

Peanutflower

Why can’t clients sleep at the farm? What a narrow-minded decision by Central Saanich council — talk about bowing to the wishes of the richy richies who live around there. The farm is huge. It is hard to believe that having less than 100 people sleeping in the centre of 78 hectares could even be noticed. WHere on earth do they think these people will stay — certainly not in the local community by the sounds of it. And then they will require some sort of transportation to get there — let’s see — not on our city buses you rubbies. Shame on you Central Saanich council, and to all of you NIMBYs out there too.

August 15, 2009, 10:43 AM

ann

Why not use the homeless to do the volunteer work? They are the ones who will benefit rather than asking hard working people to donate money.

August 15, 2009, 10:25 AM

Sue

So, 6 million at least for the farm? They will start out with 12 participants. They don’t have any housing yet which would get the costs even higher! According to my math that would be for now $ 50 000 per person. Wow, I believe there could have been a lot better done with this huge amount of money.

August 15, 2009, 10:21 AM

Linda Bedard

What an amazing gift of life you are giving. I find it ridiculous that they cannot live on site and they will essentially remain homeless for now. A community working together for the sake of each other, how wonderful!

August 15, 2009, 10:08 AM

Mr. Pink

Mare speak???? Uh, huh… and I teach” bull speak’ and I sense a lot of it will be coming out of this society over the next few years until, after getting as much out of the tax payers as possible the propety will just quietly turn into townhouses, condiminiums and somebody will make a lot of money out of this deal…