With regret I have cancelled the generous offer by Evelyn Gillespie to participate in the “Authors for Independent Bookstores” day at the Laughing Oyster Bookstore on Saturday 2 May 2015.
Anyone familiar with my four Comox Valley books will appreciate my love of the history and heritage of the valley: Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist (1985), The Wilderness Profound (1995), Island Timber (2000), and Mountain Timber (2009), all of them published by Sono Nis Press.
I simply cannot believe that Mack Laing’s two houses in Comox are to be demolished despite the honest and unselfish efforts of the Mack Laing Society to preserve them. Any house can be preserved if the will exists to do so, and excuses can always be found for demolition. Dedication and effort are always required to preserve our cultural heritage.
In the last decade I have seen a good many Comox Valley landmarks destroyed through civic neglect or arson, including the Courtenay Hotel, the Lorne Hotel, Leung’s store, Palace (Bickle) Theatre, the Currie (Radford) farmhouse on Balmoral Road, and now Mack Laing’s two houses. All these buildings were of provincial and arguably national importance.
With the loss of the Lorne and Courtenay hotels, the nineteenth century has been expunged from the Comox Valley. This destruction amounts to cultural vandalism.
Why should I celebrate books, history, and heritage with a community that consistently destroys what I have tried to protect and perpetuate?