Kus-kus-sum: “Unpave a Parking Lot To Put up Paradise”

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians is excited to present an open house and information update on the biggest, most ambitious ‘re-wilding’ project ever undertaken in the Comox Valley.

Project Watershed (PW) and the K’ómoks First Nation share a dream to restore the old Fields Sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary salt-mash and riverside forest and in the process reconnect the river to the Hollyhock intertidal channels. The project site is named Kus-kus-sum in recognition of the historic First Nation village once located in the area.

Thursday, April 19, 7 pm in the Lower Native Sons Hall, Dan Bowen, Project Watershed Technical Director, will share the vision for the site’s future and highlight the project’s many benefits and historic significance to the Comox Valley.

“The aim of the Kus-kus-sum Project”, says Bowen, “is to restore the Courtenay River channel habitat back to its natural condition – we will ‘un-pave’ the sawmill parking lot and put up a paradise. This ambitious project will make the river and estuary a healthier place not only for fish and wildlife but for all of us.”

The evening’s agenda also includes an overview of past and current projects with an update on Project Watershed’s latest initiatives. You’ll enjoy informal discussions with directors and volunteers and the opportunity to view displays that focus on the varied services Project Watershed provides the community.

In support of Kus-kus-sum, beautiful art cards and posters, chocolate bars, colourful shopping bags and raffle tickets will be for sale. Donations will be accepted at the door. “Every purchase, every donation gets us closer to transforming the eyesore in the heart of our Valley into functioning habitat,” states PW director, Bill Heidrick.

The 2017 recipient of the Chapter’s annual Community Action Award, Project Watershed’s mission as a local, non-profit environmental organization is “to promote community stewardship of Comox Valley Watersheds through education, information and action”.

Everyone is invited on Thursday, April 19 to the Lower Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, at 7 pm to enjoy an informative open house.

Water: A Human Right, A Public Trust, A Shared Commons

The Council of Canadians are leaders in campaigns to protect Canada’s freshwater sources. Their campaign work, and that of the local Comox Valley Chapter, focuses on recognizing water as a human right, a public trust and shared commons. The commons consists of gifts of nature such as fresh water, oceans, air and wildlife.

Water as a human right is to be shared, carefully managed, and protected from privatization and industrialization.

Water as a public trust puts community water interests ahead of private water users. It requires water be allocated for the needs of citizens and ecosystems first, not those with industrial or private projects.

As a commons, water is no one’s property; it is not a commodity to be sold or a source for personal profit. It is not to be taken, put in plastic bottles and sold to others at exorbitant prices.

The more that private interests control the water supply, the less we, as a community, have a say about our public water. We are currently witnessing how local groups and communities are fighting to protect or regain control of their local surface and ground water, including community-drinking watersheds.

The bottled water industry is one of the most polluting on earth. Only one in six plastic water bottles is recycled. Instead they lie stagnant in landfills and end up as trash in our rivers, streams and oceans. They’re tossed on land, littering roadsides, beaches, parks and forests.

The plastic water bottle is made up of chemicals and fossil fuels that leach into the soil and groundwater. Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil is needed to produce and transport each and every bottle.

Fresh water is not an infinite resource and we cannot continue to view it as such.

“Groundwater resources are finite. Wasting our limited groundwater on such uses as bottled water is a recipe for disaster. We must safeguard groundwater reserves for our communities and future generations,” states Maude Barlow Honorary Chair of the Council of Canadians. “Bottling water is draining communities here in Canada and around the world.”

At the pace we’re moving with the privatization and industrialization of water, the changes in climate, drought and over extraction, many communities will not have enough fresh water to meet their future needs.

Rally Postponed

In 2015, Blueberry River First Nation (BRFN) commenced a significant treaty infringement claim against the Province of BC. BRFN claims that the Province is in breach of its obligation under Treaty 8, due to the cumulative impacts of development in BRFN’s traditional territory.

The trial in BC Supreme Court that was scheduled to begin on March 26 has been postponed to April 9.

The rally that was planned at the Courtenay Courthouse on March 26 has been postponed. Further information soon.

Site C: Is It a Done Deal?

Town Hall Meeting to Examine the Site C Decision

Our BC government has told us there is no choice but to proceed with the Site C Dam.

Many experts have challenged this decision arguing that cancelling Site C makes economic sense, as well as saving valuable agricultural land in the Peace River Valley, and honouring the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On Friday, March 23 at 7 pm, Islanders For The Peace and the local chapter of the Council of Canadians are hosting a Town Hall meeting at the K’omoks First Nation Band Hall on Dyke Road to offer the latest up-to-date information and analysis from people on the front lines of this crucial debate.

Speakers include Ken & Arlene Boon of the Peace River Landowners Association and Steve Gray, Peace Valley Solidarity Initiative.

This event will raise funds for the Treaty 8 legal challenge being put to the courts by the Moberly Lake and Prophet River First Nations as well as for the Peace River Landowners Association who have been fighting this project for many years.

The Comox Valley is the 3rd stop of the Justice For The Peace Island Tour. Other events on the Islands will take place in Duncan, Sooke, Nanaimo, Quadra Island and Salt Spring Island.

Silent auction items and services are gratefully accepted to help with raising funds.

For more information, please contact Sally at 250 337-8328.