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

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Whale and sea lions at play near Mitlenatch Island

It was a spectacular sight Sunday evening near Mitlenatch Island for Thomas… Continue reading

Mainroad prepares to clear North Island roads this winter

Mainroad North Island Contracting LP’s road servicing contract began Sept. 1

Hamir brings agriculture to the Comox Valley Regional District forefront

Air quality also high on priority list for new Area B director

NIC to host Robert R. Brown, author of ‘Wealthing Like Rabbits’

What do zombies, Star Trek and rabbits have in common? Find out at NIC’s Comox Valley campus

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

New monitoring of vessel noise impact on endangered whales announced

Federal government to monitor underwater ship and mammal noise in B.C.’s Salish Sea

Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Langley Township council hopeful wants to build one-person foul weather shelters for homeless

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Most Read