Langford rejects Victoria Truth Centre’s bid for Latoria property

City says land will be used for agriculture

The Victoria Truth Centre’s proposal to purchase land at 960 Latoria Rd. for a rehabilitation farm that assists offenders similar to Emma’s Acres in Mission (shown here) has been turned down by the City of Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Victoria Truth Centre’s proposal to purchase land at 960 Latoria Rd. for a rehabilitation farm that assists offenders similar to Emma’s Acres in Mission (shown here) has been turned down by the City of Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)

It appears a Victoria church’s bid for a property at 960 Latoria Rd. in Langford has come up short.

The Victoria Truth Centre had submitted a proposal in June to the city to buy the property for more than $1 million and then lease it to Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.), a charitable organization.

The proposal called for the land to be used in a similar fashion to Emma’s Acres, a property in Mission that has provided rehabilitation and work growing organic vegetables for offenders.

The City of Langford’s request for proposals closed on June 11. The city’s three previous attempts to remove the land from the Agricultural land Reserve were not successful.

Linda Cain, president of the board of Victoria Truth Centre, a non-denominational church, said they were really disappointed with Langford’s decision.

READ MORE: Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

“We offered close to $1.2 million,” Cain said. “We were told that it went to the highest bidder. Langford told us they wanted fair market value and would continue to look elsewhere.”

Cain said she believed their proposal had a good chance, based in part on the success Emma’s Acres has achieved during the past eight years.

“We thought our proposal followed what Langford wanted,” she explained. “We had overwhelming support from the community. I was moved by the number of complete strangers who reached out to ask how they could help with the proposal.”

A spokesperson for the City of Langford said they received a number of strong proposals that aligned with council’s goal of achieving the highest return from the sale, while ensuring that the land would be used for its intended agricultural purposes.

City staff are currently in discussions with the leading proponent, and more details will be made available when the discussions are complete, the spokesperson noted in an email to the Gazette.

Cain said she wishes the proponent all the best.

“We hope whoever buys the property produces agriculture that will be beneficial to the community,” she added. “Anyone growing agriculture and providing food for Vancouver Island is really needed.”

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rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

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