IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Tim Ennis will elaborate on the precedent-setting nature of “Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River – Transforming a Decommissioned Sawmill Site into a Valuable Habitat Corridor” (Module B on Day Two – panel vignette)

Note to Reader:

A historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations has taken place in the Comox Valley. A First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaboratively purchase, restore and manage a key property in the heart of their community.

The three signatories, the K’ómoks First Nation, the City of Courtenay and Comox Valley Project Watershed Society are working together with Interfor Corporation, the current owners of the property, to acquire and then restore a former sawmill site to natural habitat. The site has been renamed Kus-kus-sum.

Left to Right – Tim Ennis, Kus-kus-sum Senior Project Manager- Project Watershed; Don Castleden, Estuary Working Group Chair – Project Watershed; Chief Nicole Remple, K’ómoks First Nation; Mayor Bob Wells, City of Courtenay; MP Gord Johns, Courtenay-Alberni (Photo Credit: Danielle Dufour)

Field of Dreams: Turning the tides to de-industrialize the Courtenay estuary in the heart of the Comox Valley 

“Decommissioned in 2006, the Field Sawmill was once the economic heart of the Comox Valley. It employed hundreds of people directly, and was the centrepiece of the local forest industry,” wrote Tim Ennis, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust, in an article published in the CVCollective.

“Estuaries have long been the location of choice for coastal BC’s saw and pulp mills. Logs can be easily floated on the river, or tugged along the coast. Processed timber products can be barged to market. Industrial mills still operate in the estuaries of the Fraser, Cowichan, Nanaimo, and Chemainus rivers. Yet the tides may be changing as some communities choose to follow a different path.”

Could Kus-kus-sum go coastal?

In an interview published by Decafnation in December 2017, Tim Ennis predicted the importance of the planned restoration of the Fields Sawmill site may well go beyond repairing a blight on the Comox Valley’s image. It’s likely to influence the prospects of a coast-wide approach to replacing multiple forest industry eyesores with ecological assets.

Tim Ennis believes there may be many opportunities on the B.C. coast to restore former sawmill sites located in estuaries, without negative impacts to the forest economy.

That’s because trucking has replaced marine-based transport as the preferred method of transporting logs and newer government regulations are more restrictive in estuarine environments. So the forest industry doesn’t rely on the use of estuaries as it did in the past.

To Learn More:

Read the article posted by Project Watershed in their December 2018 Newsletter: K’omoks First Nation, Courtenay and Project Watershed make history for a greener planet.

Then watch the video below.