Comox council decision about Baybrook must wait

Supporters of Mack Laing's 'Baybrook' house will have to wait a few weeks to see the result of a staff report.

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER Alice Munro lived in Baybrook House

Supporters of Mack Laing’s ‘Baybrook’ house will have to wait a few weeks to see the result of a staff report to determine what options put forward to save the house might be viable.

Wednesday afternoon, Loys Maingon of the Mack Laing Conservation Committee, presented Comox council a report presenting two options to keep the home standing.

In June, the Comox Valley Naturalists Society and Project Watershed asked Comox council for a delay on the demolition of Mack Laing’s ‘Baybrook’ house, which is situated at 70 Orchard Park Dr., a 2.6-hectare piece of waterfront property.

Mack Laing resided in his first Comox house, built in 1922, until 1949. It was there where he wrote scientific articles, more than 1,000 journal articles and 14 books.

Council asked for an assessment to determine if the structures (including the main house) which, were in sufficiently poor condition, were worth saving.

The report determined the cost of renovating and saving the building would exceed the cost of reconstruction, and the plan was to remove the structure and return the property to a natural, park-like state.

The groups — known as the Mack Laing House Conservation Committee — enlisted a team of biologists, planners, engineers and historians to examine two homes: ‘Baybrook’ and ‘Shakesides.’

Maingon explained the report determined Shakesides is situated on a floodplain and is not salvageable, but “Baybrook is the only viable home.”

He asked council for a stay on the demolition of ‘Baybrook’ and added Heritage BC expressed interest in contributing to the project and could qualify for funding if the request comes from the municipal heritage committee.

Maingon presented two options from the conversation committee: a national parks-style post-and-beam viewing cover with signage with an infilled basement (cost estimated between $75,000 to $100,000) or a full restoration developing conservation tourism and education (cost estimated between $150,000 to $200,000).

He suggested option two is a year-round indoor facility, which opens possibilities to develop conservation tourism while creating a link to the Strathcona Wilderness Institute Facility.

It also includes security, controls local education expenses, offers direct revenue and is a regional revenue multiplier, Maingon added.

Coun. Ken Grant asked who the owner of the facility would be and who would be responsible of maintenance.

“It goes to the society; the Town owns the building but it would be the Mack Laing Society,” replied Maingon.

Coun. Patti Fletcher suggested the group talk with neighbouring Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association to see what — if any — partnerships or agreements can be made.

Mayor Paul Ives reminded Maingon when the Town acquired the homes they did so in conjunction with the Nature Trust of BC, and the property “must be aligned with their goals in mind.”

• • •

Maingon and fellow committee member Paul Horgen noted Sunday that 2013 Nobel Prize literature winner Alice Munro spent two winters in the home.

Now, they argue, the site would not only attract the ecologically minded, but also literary- and historic-minded tourists.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Comox Valley Presbyterian Church on Aspen Road. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Presbyterian Church, Town of Comox looking at land use options

The congregation is exploring options for use of the property

Comox Valley are investigating a break and enter at a store on Denman Island. File photo
Thief steals Denman Island store’s charity jar

Comox Valley RCMP also looking for witnesses to Dove Creek injury

Former 19 Wing Commander Mike Atkins is the new CEO of the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Comox Valley Airport Commission announces new CEO

Alex Robertson is serving as acting CEO since Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave last year

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read