On February 1, 2017 (ironically, just 4 days before Mack Laing’s birthday) Comox Council voted to go to BC Supreme Court to overturn the Hamilton Mack Laing Trust, ignore the wishes expressed in Laing’s Will, and violate the intention of a generous, nationally famous naturalist and environmentalist.
Not included in the report to Council is the cost to taxpayers of taking this unnecessary action. BC Heritage, the National Trust, and many local individuals and groups have expressed an interest in restoring Shakesides for its intended purpose, a public nature museum and interpretive centre – AT NO COST TO THE TOWN! What will destroying heritage accomplish?
Council has stated that they want to demolish Shakesides, Laing’s last home, hand-built, and in excellent condition when he left it to the town on his death in 1982 at the age of 99. In its place they propose to build a viewing platform, claiming that this is in the best interests of the Town. Hundreds of Comox citizens, as well as many local non-profit organizations in the environmental community disagree.
Also ignored is the $45,000 he left the town to turn the house into a nature museum AND maintain it. That was a substantial sum of money at the time, and it seems that the Town did not use the Trust funds as stipulated in the Will, nor did they put the money into an interest-bearing account, but kept it in general revenue. As a result, it appreciated little during a time of high interest rates, and funds were used for other purposes.
Read the Town’s supporting documents for the court challenge:Comox Council Agenda 02-01-2017 pgs 5; 77-80
Decafnation’s George LeMasurier has commented on the ongoing saga in his blog: http://decafnation.net/2017/02/03/new-revelations-in-mack-laing-saga/
And comments on the unwillness of the Town to admit they erred: http://decafnation.net/2017/02/10/the-apology-an-endangered-species/