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.

2017 Community Action Award

The 2017 Community Action Award was presented to Project Watershed at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians AGM.

This award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated progressive action in our community and promotes the values endorsed by the Council of Canadians. Recent recipients include Janet Fairbanks and Wayne Bradley, Walking with Our Sisters K’omoks, and activist Gwyn Frayne, posthumously.

A non-profit environmental society, Project Watershed’s mission is to “promote community stewardship of the Comox Valley watersheds through education, information and action”.

“In doing so”, noted Chapter member Linda Safford, “they are protecting our shared environment, our commons, for the public good and future generations.”

Bio-remediation to protect Baynes Sound, salmon studies and enhancement on the Puntledge River, eel grass restoration, salt-marsh construction, and the lagoon breech at the Airpark are a few of the many initiatives Project Watershed has spearheaded over the past 24 years.

Their current undertaking, Kus-kus-sum, is one of the largest, most high-profile initiatives in local conservation history. It is a partnership with the K’omoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay to “unpave paradise” and restore the former Fields sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary saltmarsh and riverside forest. The name Kus-kus-sum honours an early First Nations village in that area.

“After more than a century of industrial service and decline in ecological function, we have the chance to live with this section of river in a way that’s better for everyone,” said Chair of Project Watershed Paul Horgen, who accepted the Community Action Award on behalf the organization.