Group trying to preserve ‘Baybrook’ house in Comox

A group has released a report for Comox council presenting two options to keep an historic home standing.

With the hopes of saving a historic Comox home and creating an interpretive centre, a conversation group has released a report for Comox council 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.

Built in 1922, Mack Laing resided in his first Comox house 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.’

In their report, the committee determined due to flooding, ‘Shakesides’ is structurally unsound and cannot be salvaged in the long-term.

‘Baybrook’ meanwhile, was found to be structurally sound by a professional engineer and salvageable by a professional architect, the report states.

In early September, the Town removed three cottages from the property, which were not structurally sound and beyond repair.

The committee describes two options and their socio-economic limitations:

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).

“To make Baybrook a viable business option, the Strathcona Wilderness Institute Facility … is used as a business model for volunteer-based nature education and tourism enhancement facility,” explained the report.

“The proposal is to link the SWI facility which only operates five months of the year and Baybrook through a paid co-ordinator organizing a large volunteer base, developing educational programmes and promoting the new and potentially lucrative branch of ‘conservation tourism.’ “

The committee notes to implement the latter option — which they recommend — they must dissolve the Mack Laing House Committee, reactive the Comox Cultural and Heritage Committee to obtain funding from BC Heritage; constitute the Mack Laing Society to be accountable for the operations of Baybrook as a heritage building and non-profit business; and extend a stay of demolition for eight months to carry out a full market analysis of conservation tourism in the Comox Valley and pull together a volunteer workforce and local materials support for construction.

The committee did identify a variety of problems and limitations including (limited) access and parking, security and building size.

They are scheduled to present the report to council Oct. 9.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Comox overdose awareness display blessed by the Pope

Judith Conway created the display in honour of her son and others who have died of overdoses

Six orcas seen off Point Holmes Saturday

A pod of orcas treated many onlookers to a show Saturday evening.… Continue reading

Fire breaks out at Courtenay hostel

Police arrest man who could be associated with rash of fires

BREAKING: Large structure fire at downtown Courtenay hostel

A fire in downtown Courtenay has engulfed the Cona Hostel at the… Continue reading

Affordable rental housing complex opens in Courtenay

The Braidwood facility will house 34 people at risk of homelessness

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Runners pound the pavement in Comox Valley RV half marathon

The Comox Valley RV half marathon began at 11 a.m. Saturday at… Continue reading

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

Most Read