When our BC Attorney General, the Honourable Suzanne Anton, was asked by the Mack Laing Heritage Society (MLHS) to intervene in the demolition of Shakesides, she insisted that the Town of Comox form a committee to investigate how to fulfil Mack Laing’s will. Comox Council created the Mack Laing Nature House Advisory Committee. Unfortunately, council was determined to demolish Shakesides and put together a committee carefully selected to achieve council’s goal. In my opinion this committee was biased and needs to be disqualified.
• Executive of the MLHS – Angela Burns;
• Comox town council – Couns. Maureen Swift and Marg Grant, who both previously voted to demolish Shakesides.
• Parks Board – Al Fraser
• Comox Archives and Museum Society – Pam Moughton. Chair of CAMS Board and responsible for obtaining funding for the museum, which includes a grant from the Town of Comox.
• Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society – Christine Hodgson. BCWS is also partially dependent on the Town of Comox for funding and did not support the preservation of Baybrook.
• Member of the Community at large – Terry Chester. One of the foremost leaders of the neighbourhood group who lobbied for the demolition of Baybrook and whose name is on their petition. He was named chairperson.
• Member of the Community at Large with Construction Experience – Mark Ouelette. With his knowledge of construction, he saw that Shakesides was very salvageable and could envision its conversion into a Nature House.
The final vote was 3-2 for demolition. Swift, Grant and Moughton voted for demolition, while Angela Burns and Mark Ouelette voted for preservation. Hodgson and Chester did not vote.
Mack Laing wanted his home to be used as a Nature Museum. To do otherwise would surely be a breach of trust.
Wouldn’t the logical and legal solution be to allow the Mack Laing Heritage Society to restore Shakesides and create a Nature House? They have thousands of fundraised dollars, the support of at least 20 businesses, and pledges from individuals and philanthropists waiting to donate. It could be such a positive, community-building project with a beneficial outcome for the Town and for all visitors to Mack Laing Park. Why not give it a chance?