Kus-kus-sum signage near 17th Street Bridge (L to R, Bill Heidrick, Erik Eriksson, Caila Holbrook, Tim Ennis, Dan Bowen, Doug Hillian) – Photo Credit: City of Courtenay.

First $100,000 raised for Kus-kus-sum Project

Three months into campaign, Project Watershed has reached 20 per cent of its fundraising goal

“Project Watershed would like to thank the Comox Valley for helping us pass the first milestone towards un-paving paradise at Kus-kus-sum,” stated Paul Horgen, Project Watershed chair, when the group announced it has surpassed its initial $100,000 fundraising goal earlier this week.

When the Kus-Kus-Sum Project was first announced, in September, the committee set forth an aggressive fundraising goal to attain 20 per cent of its overall target, by the end of 2017.

Project Watershed will be looking to raise another $400,000 from the community over the next two years to complement the $6 million they will be raising from other sources. The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society and K’ómoks First Nation has a vision to secure the old Field Sawmill site (now referred to as Kus-kus-sum to acknowledge the long-standing First Nations’ connection to the site), near the 17th St. Bridge for the purposes of restoration and long-term conservation. The timeline for the project is five years – two years to raise the funding required to buy the property and another three years to return it to functioning habitat. The total cost of the project is expected to be around $6.5 million.

“The response from the community has been heartwarming,” said Tim Ennis Project Watershed’s senior project manager. “We have had over 240 donors come forward to date.”

In addition to community donors, the City of Courtenay has committed to paying the property taxes for 2018 and 2019 and Interfor will be making a donation to cover the taxes in 2017. A full list of donors is available at www.kuskussum.ca. Signage identifying the site as Kus-kus-sum has gone up and is visible from Comox Road and the Riverway Walk in front of the Old House.

“We have a long road ahead of us to transform this eyesore in the heart of our community into functioning habitat,” said Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s manager of frundraising, outreach and mapping. “We hope the signs call attention to this journey and help keep it at the forefront of our minds.”

To contribute to the fundraising goal, visit www.kuskussum.ca, or contact Project Watershed, at 250-703-2871.

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