May 4, 2016
Town of Comox Office of the Mayor
1809 Beaufort Avenue Comox, B.C., V9M 1R9
Attention Paul Ives, Q.C.
Re: Mack Laing Nature House Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference (TOR)
As our Committee rather abruptly concluded its meetings on Friday and they have previously agreed that email discussions are not acceptable I’m left with some outstanding questions and no one to talk to.
So I thought I would write you a note that you can (if appropriate) help me with. I’m not confident that we have satisfied the Terms of Reference that you assigned us. I am also left wondering if we perhaps strayed from the intent of the TOR as my construction expertise was rarely called on. Our chairman will be circulating his draft report to council for us to review at or just before our May 13 meeting to discuss it. As time is of the essence perhaps after your review of our April 29, 2016 meeting minutes you may wish to redirect our focus and put us back to work on the TOR.
In brief, here is where I feel we came up short:
1. Goals: a. We did not review in depth the potential of converting the existing Mack Laing House into a natural history museum. The SWOT process looked at it from a high level but did not look at it in detail. The fear of most committee members of operating and capital costs caused them to dismiss the possibility without drilling deeper into your request to examine its potential. b. I prepared a list of heritage funding organizations from an easily accessible website and then supplemented that list with private funding methods. Your second goal of the TOR (fundraising opportunities) was never raised and discussed to any extent at a meeting. So I have to conclude we have not properly achieved that goal.
2. Deliverables: a. We did not discuss or develop an action plan that would be submitted to council for potential implementation. We did come up with four options that underwent a SWOT process. During the SWOT we discussed three options related to the preservation of the house and a fourth option that did not include the house. Last week we voted that the third option Virtual Museum was the preferred option. Although I fail to see how that option applies to your TOR as a committee member I have to accept the majority 1 opinion. Discussion has ended. An action plan is still required to implement this option. That has not been completed.
3. Scope/Jurisdiction: a. As an advisory body we have not discussed (documented) how the preferred goal (or for that matter any of the options) could be met with the limited financial resources that are available. This circles us back to your second goal of identifying funding. I believe as a committee we should produce a business plan with timetable attached for each of our preferred options. That plan may bring clarity to the feasibility of the options as well as their weighted acceptability with respect to Mack Laing’s will and Trust.
In summary, I would appreciate your thoughts on the above items. I have truly enjoyed the project and as stated at our first committee meeting, I’m there to help as required and I remain so.
F.M. (MARK) OUELLETTE