Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is on the cusp of completing the purchase of the Kus-kus-sum site. The final payment for the property is due Nov. 30.
After the title of the land has been transferred, Project Watershed can begin restoration activities in the spring.
In a push to raise funds for Kus-kus-sum before Christmas, Project Watershed is holding a Fundraising Blitz. This event will include a reverse telethon, an online auction (visit bit.ly/3kDEjD2) and a 50/50 raffle (visit bit.ly/3pz3gn5). In an act of inspiring generosity, the Ngan-Page Family Fund is matching all funds raised at this event. With this in mind, Project Watershed’s goal is to raise $100,000 by Nov. 28.
“This will be our last big fundraising push for Kus-kus-sum of 2020,” said Kathy Haigh, fundraising director. “Once the site is purchased the remaining funds will be used to begin the restoration process. Imagine what the site could look like a year from now!”
Project Watershed is co-ordinating this fundraiser with representatives from the K’ómoks First Nation and many of the auction items have been donated by Indigenous artists.
Project Watershed is still accepting donations of goods and services for the auction, and looking for volunteers to participate in the reverse telethon.
“We are calling it a reverse telethon as we won’t be waiting for people to call us, our network will be proactively calling potential donors to raise funds,” explains Caila Holbrook, manager of fundraising, outreach and mapping. Project Watershed will be offering rewards to callers who reach predefined fundraising thresholds.
The auction and 50/50 tickets will be available online until Nov. 28 and will wrap up just before the end of the reverse telethon at 4 p.m. Items will be added to the online auction until Nov. 20.
“You don’t need to bid, buy a raffle ticket or wait to be called to be a part of this fundraiser,” said Holbrook. “Throughout the event, unsolicited donations will be accepted at www.kuskussum.ca and matched as part of the Fundraising Blitz.”
The society is in position to have a large chunk of the restoration funding in place by the spring, especially if this fundraiser goes well.
The society has already garnered $120,000 from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, and has submitted grant applications to the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
“We are closer than ever before to unpaving paradise and restoring Kus-kus-sum,” said Project Watershed technical director, Dan Bowen. “Everyone here is very excited for the next phase of this project to begin.”
Find out more about the Fundraising Blitz for Kus-kus-sum at www.kuskussum.ca
“This land [Kus-kus-sum] is in K’ómoks First Nation traditional territory and our work with the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is not intended to abrogate or derogate from out our asserted Aboriginal title and other Aboriginal rights,” said K’ómoks First Nation in a statement. “Any steps we take working in conjunction with the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society must not be interpreted as extinguishing or consenting to the infringement of our Aboriginal title and rights. Further, the Field Sawmill site is [ or maybe] the site of an old K’ómoks First Nation Village, and our participation in this project is without prejudice to any specific claim the K’ómoks First Nation may file in relation to this site.”