In November 2016, Comox members of the MLHS submitted several Freedom of Information, public interest requests, to the Town of Comox, related to Shakesides and the Mack Laing Trust. These requests are currently under consideration.
In August 2016, on the advice of Heritage BC, the MLHS commissioned a Heritage Assessment of Shakesides, by John Atkin & Elana Zysblat CAHP Heritage Consultants. A Statement of Significance report was issued, which may be read HERE.
In June 2015, Moeller Mathews, chartered accountants, examined the financial reports of the Mack Laing Trust, presented to the public by the Town of Comox in January 2016. The accountant determined that if the $45,000 left in trust to the Town by Hamilton Mack Laing had been placed in a trust account in 1982, on Laing's death, it would now be worth over $480,000. Instead, the Town claims the trust fund is worth approximately $75,000.
In his Will, Mack Laing left the Town of Comox $45,000, of which 25% was to be used to convert his home, Shakesides in Mack Laing Park, into a “nature museum”. Interest on the remaining 75% of the trust fund was to be used to maintain it.
MLHS has determined that very little money would have been needed to convert the house into a no-frills museum or nature interpretive centre. It was in excellent condition and the Town collected rental income from it until until 2014. This income should also have been placed in the trust account.
Since none of the funds was used as directed by Laing in his Will, the MLHS has asked for clarification. The Moeller Mathews calculations can be downloaded as a pdf from the new item HERE