Baybrook and Future Climate Change

Category : News

There are really very few substantial arguments for the demolition of Baybrook. Given the historical relevance of Hamilton Mack Laing to the Comox Valley and to Canadian environmental science and history, Baybrook is one of the few remaining heritage homes in Comox.

As confirmed by the Town of Comox’s 2013 vote, based on the 2013 Mack Laing House Report, the house, even with the Stubbs’ 1950’s addition, has been found by a professional architect and a civil engineer to be structurally sound.  Unlike its counterpart, “Shakesides,”  Mack Laing’s second house, it does not flood, and is therefore salvageable for re-use as an interpretive centre for the Comox Valley.

Of all the arguments raised by opponents of the restoration project, there is only one that has merit.  The Mack Laing Heritage Society is a benevolent non-profit with no commercial interests.  It has no interest in the park itself.  It is only interested in the preserving Baybrook as a walk-in educational facility for broad public access. The best argument against all this is the potential for Baybrook to flood  as a result of tidal surges which are expected to increase in this century.  Baybrook, like all dwellings on the shoreline such as homes along Balmoral Beach, Kye Bay, DND structures on the Goose Spit, are in the potentially active tidal zone.  If governments fail to act responsibly, and seas rise as predicted, these dwellings would be in danger somewhere between 2050 and 2100.

The recent record floods in December 8 to 10 of this year provide a measure of what is to be expected.  To ascertain the risk that tidal surges and floods pose to Baybrooks’s use as a public building by a hypothetical 2050 I went out to record the flood at high tide on December 9.  As the attached pictures show, water ran  4 inches over the clogged bridge at Brooklyn Creek.  The house itself sat comfortably about 2.5- 3metres up on the midden hillock, safe from flooding..  While there were no means to ascertain whether water infiltrated the basement, there were no previous signs of this in the engineer’s report.

The following photos show the house at the time of the king tide on December 10, 2014 …

Housefront1sm Housefront2sm

Housefront3sm Housefront4sm

As any other public building, Baybrook would have to be closed during  2-3 days of flood.  There is no reason to believe that a building, restored at no cost to the public,  should not continue to be of  benefit to the public. Should Baybrook ever be overwhelmed by climate change would really be an indictment of our governments’ failure to act on climate change. Logically, if Baybrook should be demolished on this account, then so should the Filberg Lodge, Lewis Centre and all the aforementioned homes.

Here is a video of the flooded road ..

Loys Maingon (President)
Comox Valley Nature

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