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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay Police Department briefs for May 3 to 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Copper wire stolen after Oak Bay construction site targeted twice by thieves

Cop briefs include pair of impounded cars, swiped back medication

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

Colwood council voted to give businesses less of a cut than planned and will look for more cuts this week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood council gets back to work after voting against 9.3% property tax hike

Emergency meetings this week will find more cuts, finalize tax plan by Friday deadline

A man was arrested after allegedly threatening people downtown on May 10 while brandishing this knife. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man armed with a knife arrested for allegedly threatening people in downtown Victoria

Officers used de-escalation techniques during afternoon arrest

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read