KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER: “It’s an exciting opportunity to return an industrial site to its former natural state, while also honoring the historical presence of the K’ómoks First Nation,” stated MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard in April 2019 when she welcomed $1 million in provincial funding to support transformation of Kus-kus-sum into wetland habitat

Note to Reader:

Project Watershed, in partnership with the K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) and the City of Courtenay, has entered into an agreement with Interfor to purchase and restore the former Field Sawmill site on the Courtenay River near the 17th Street Bridge. The project site is named Kus-kus-sum – meaning tree burial– in recognition of its traditional use by the K’ómok’s First Nation as the final resting place for their ancestors.

The project partners intend to restore the former industrial site to saltmarsh, side-channel and riparian habitats, supporting the recovery of fish and wildlife species, and mitigate flooding in the region.

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.

Kus-kus-sum receives $1 million in provincial funding

“It is a huge win for everyone involved in bringing Kus-kus-sum forward, and for the Comox Valley as a whole,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, Comox Valley’s Member of the Legislative Assembly.

“The project team knocked on my door when I took office and I am pleased that the province is providing this funding for such a complex and inspirational initiative. It’s an exciting opportunity to return an industrial site to its former natural state, while also honoring the historical presence of the K’ómoks First Nation.”

“We are so pleased that the province is making this generous contribution to Project Watershed. Thank you to MLA Leonard for helping us secure this provincial funding. Support from the province is truly essential in achieving our conservation and reconciliation vision,” Bill Heidrick, Acting Chair, Comox Valley Project Watershed Society

“This project is a key step in advancing true and lasting reconciliation in the Comox Valley. Kus-kus-sum holds important cultural significance for our nation, and we look forward to its return. We are very grateful that the province has agreed to help fund this important project,” added Nicole Rempel, Chief Councillor, K’ómoks First Nation

“This announcement is excellent news for our community. The people of Courtenay have really united around this unique partnership and are working hard to help meet the project’s fundraising goals. I want to thank MLA Leonard and the ministry for their support in moving us all a giant step closer to the restoration of Kus-kus-sum,’ concluded Doug Hillian, Councillor, City of Courtenay

To Learn More:

Visit https://projectwatershed.ca/estuary-stewardship/fields-sawmill-kuskussum/ and read the following selection of articles posted elsewhere on the waterbucket.ca website:

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)

Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island: “Being stewards of the lands and waters, it is inherently our duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat of the salmon and various marine and wildlife in this area,” stated Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, K’ómoks First Nation

Eco-Asset Action in the Comox Valley: A community prepares to unpave a parking lot and put up a paradise