Since 2013, I have been a keen observer of the interactions going on between the Mack Laing Heritage Society and the Town of Comox.
In my opinion, a reasonable proposal had been made for the restoration of Baybrook that would not have put any burden on Comox taxpayers.
Then came the municipal election. Then, in February this year, the new council, on advice of staff, voted to demolish Baybrook.
No need to take sides. One could conclude that a newly formed society was pitted against the town’s staff and CAO, and council sided with their staff. Pretty reasonable way of doing business.
But then key historians weighed in, along with an award-winning journalist from the Vancouver Sun (Stephen Hume). Then BC Heritage and the federal National Trust – wrote letters to the mayor and council, confirming the Society’s reports and the heritage importance of Mack Laing.
One would think that a reasonable council would reconsider their decision. Instead, a wrecking crew appeared at Baybrook early on Aug. 6, and it is now gone forever.
Who is to blame? That is an easy question to answer – the mayor and council.
Two more questions are:
1. Did the mayor and council read the letters, especially since both heritage organizations proposed financial assistance to help restore the home of this “iconic” figure in Canadian history?
2. If they actually did consider them, what is their justification for ignoring them and not at least opening up a new public discussion on the issue?
As a naturalized Canadian, who studied and passed the test to become a citizen, I relate to the comment made in the Wednesday, Aug. 5 Hume article: “Canadian Citizenship handbook specifically states that it is the duty of Canadian citizens to protect Canadian heritage.”
So, why did the elected officials in Comox not do their duty?
As a new citizen, I need these questions answered.