Losing Baybrook would be losing part of Comox heritage

Dear editor,

Having grown up in Comox, I have noticed over the years that the town has lost many heritage buildings.

Dear editor,

Having grown up in Comox, I have noticed over the years that the town has lost many heritage buildings.

I was shocked to recently hear that Baybrook, a heritage building that was the original Mack Laing residence, is soon slated for demolition.

There is a lot of history connected with the building.

Laing was a naturalist and writer who collected specimens for the National Museum. He first arrived in Comox in 1922 and camped on the site with Percy Taverner of the National Museum to study Comox birds.

Taverner will be remembered by many for publishing Birds of Western Canada the first comprehensive book on Canadian birds. The book’s illustrations were mainly done by artist Allan Brooks, a winter resident of Comox and friend of Laing’s.

Laing fell in love with the beautiful site where Brooklyn Creek meets the sea and bought five acres, establishing his home and a nut farm. His wife Ethel named the house and property Baybrook after Comox Bay and Brooklyn Creek.

A few years after Ethel died, Laing sold Baybrook to the Stubbs family in 1949 and built Shakesides, which stands at the bottom of Mack Laing Park. Laing stated in his will that he wished his house to become a nature museum.

Since the Stubbs have now sold Baybrook and the Town of Comox has acquired the land and house, it seems to me that Laing’s wish should be carried out in his original house, which is in a perfect location for a walk-in nature centre somewhat like the Goldstream one near Victoria.

No doubt this would take money for developing the idea and possible renovations but if enough organizations and individuals were interested and could volunteer help and hopefully funding, perhaps it would be possible.

A caretaker could be accommodated in the house or one of the cottages on the property. An interpretive nature centre would be ideal for highlighting the estuary and other natural history of the Comox area.

I urge any residents and groups who wish to save the Baybrook house to contact the Town of Comox mayor (pives@comox.ca) and council (council@comox.ca) as soon as possible. There is no time to lose.

Recommended reading for those interested are the booklet The Pioneer Birdmen of Comox by Elizabeth Brooks (available at the Comox Museum) and the book Hamilton Mack Laing Hunter Naturalist by Richard Mackie.

Betty Brooks,

Black Creek

 

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

Just Posted

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Island Health has sent another exposure alert to parents of students attending… Continue reading

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

t
Province invests $2M in three Vancouver Island food hubs

Hub network provides shared-use processing facilities to small agri-businesses

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Residential lawn and garden watering with a sprinkler is not permitted during Stage 3 water restrictions. File photo
Stage 3 restrictions apply to Comox Valley Water System during pipe repair

The Comox Valley Water System will move to Stage 3 from March… Continue reading

Most Read