In a last-ditch attempt to “preserve the legacy of Mack Laing,” a representative from the Mack Laing Heritage Society presented Comox council with a plea to save Shakesides Wednesday, Laing’s residence which is set to be removed.
J. Kristian Nielsen, president of the MLHS, asked council at the committee of the whole meeting for a “gesture of goodwill.”
“Mack Laing was a historical figure, and that makes Shakesides a historical site,” he explained.
In February, council voted unanimously to proceed with a court application to modify the terms of the Mack Laing trust, starting the process towards the construction of a viewing platform in Mack Laing Park of the site of the building, once it has been removed.
The motion also included that if the cost of constructing the proposed viewing platform exceeds the amount of money subject to the trust, the Town shall pay the difference up to $75,000.
Last summer, council voted in accordance to a report produced by the Mack Laing Nature House Advisory Committee to disassemble Shakesides and use the site and some materials from the home to create a viewing platform on the site with the existing walkway.
At that time, they also voted to modify the terms of Laing’s trust.
Nielsen argued Shakesides “could use some TLC and goodwill” and that a petition which has been passed around now has a total of 565 signatures in support of saving the structure.
On behalf of the MLHS, he proposed Shakesides move forward as a community project, with restoration and construction work done mostly pro bono, and noted there are between 10 to 12 contractors on board with the plan.
“We need to get heritage organizations involved … they are able to seek funding.”
Richard Kanigan, the town’s chief administrative officer commented that the roof is in disrepair.
“Many would argue the structure is beyond restoration.”
Mayor Paul Ives reminded council and Nielsen the matter will be before the courts shortly.