At its June board meeting, Comox Archives and Museum board presented an interpretive storyboard to Mike Corkish, president of the d’Esterre House Seniors’ Centre Association.
The members of d’Esterre House Seniors’ Centre are very proud of their heritage and curious to know about the elusive man, affectionately known as Dusty d’Esterre.
Dusty d’Esterre, who died in the early 1970s, left two-fifths of his valuable Comox waterfront property to the Town with the other three-fifths going to two friends. Difficult to subdivide, the Town negotiated the purchase of the balance of the property. The old frame house was demolished, however the other building, known as Dusty’s Den, remains to this day and the upstairs is the present day Comox council chambers.
In 1974, a delegation of senior citizens visited the mayor, Dick Merrick. They pointed out that there were very limited recreational facilities for seniors. Some senior programs were introduced at the ‘new’ Comox Centennial Recreation Centre on Noel Avenue; however, seniors rapidly realized they needed a place of their own. In 1975, Comox council agreed to build a new seniors’ centre on the d’Esterre legacy property. The seniors were required to raise $60,000 in non-interest debentures. Many of the seniors invested in the project and with perseverance and persuasion, succeeded in raising their $60,000. The newly formed Comox Rotarians donated $15,000 and agreed to act as contractors for the project. The Town committed $60,000 and received a provincial government grant for $55,775 and the vision became a reality.
Lieutenant-Governor, Walter Owen, officially opened d’Esterre Seniors’ Centre on June 25, 1975. Dusty d’Esterre’s benevolence to the Town and the dedication and hard work of the Town’s senior citizens has given us a seniors’ centre of exceptional facilities and a world class view.