Kus-kus-sum Deconstruction, Phase 1 – Dock Removal
For many, including Wartig, this process has been long in the making. He said “It feels like this has come full circle. I started discussing deconstruction plans with Interfor and others in the early 2000’s and now they are hiring me to initiate this process. It may have taken a long time, but there was always some form of communication or negotiations happening to ensure the dream of the property being returned to nature would be fulfilled.”
The dock and dolphins (several poles strapped together with cables) are referred to as “improvements” by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO). In order to transfer the water lot leases to another entity or entities, Interfor must remove the “improvements” as a stipulation from MFLNRO. Project Watershed entered into an agreement with Interfor to purchase the property in 2017. While we have not completed the purchase of the site, this work is being done in good faith of that agreement.
The planning for this project has included notifications to MFLNRO and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, discussions with the Courtenay Airpark, Courtenay City Hall, Interfor and Project Watershed, and creating a sediment/erosion control and safety plan. The removal process will take about a week. It will include removing the dock at the south end of the property, the pilings around the dock and the dolphins at the south and north end of the property. If time and resources permit, other debris that has accumulated against the steel wall will also be removed. This will not include removing the steel wall or any restoration activities. “While there is work happening on the property, we want everyone to know that we have not yet acquired it. We are still fundraising and cannot start restoration activities until we have acquired the property,” stated Tim Ennis, Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum Project Manager.
“Even though we have not acquired the property, we feel that this is the first tangible step of returning the land to nature and we are very excited,” said Dan Bowen, Project Watershed Technical Director.
To date Project Watershed has raised $2.4 million of the $6.5 million they estimate is needed to purchase and restore the site. The organization has also submitted a $1 million dollar grant application to the Federal Government through Canada’s Nature Fund. Locally they have raised $423,000 of the $500,000 they have targeted from the community.
Project Watershed is scheduled to make their next payment to Interfor at the end of October. In preparation for this, the organization aims to raise $35,000 by October 20, 2019. “We are hoping that the publicity surrounding the dock removal helps us reach our October target early as we have another $35,000 target coming up in December,” reports Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping. The closing date for purchasing the property is June 20th, 2020.
Sponsor a Salmon
On Saturday, September 26, forty volunteers pitched in to collect garbage at Kus-kus-sum and Hollyhock Flats as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The photos and short video captured from the day illustrate just how industrious it was.
Project Watershed has raised over $2.9 million for Kus-kus-sum and they are closer than ever to acquiring and restoring the site to natural habitat for fish & wildlife, climate change mitigation, reconciliation and community health.
Christopher Smith of Glaskrafter Art Glass is generously donating the proceeds from a selection of his beautiful kiln glass salmon sculptures to the Kus-kus-sum project. In fact, he has already donated $1,600 to Kus-kus-sum for a sculpture bought in August.
We were finally able to hold the Paintings, By The Numbers event on Sept 12, 2020. The event raised over $25,000 for Kus-kus-sum and despite the fact that it was very different than we had planned preCOVID, it turned out to be a success.
Ken Kirkby and Nana Cook have donated 43 of their paintings and seven from their collection to raise funds and awareness for Kus-kus-sum through the engaging and powerful medium of art and the promise of getting a great deal. Each painting is worth between $1,500 and $4,000.
The Kus-kus-sum project that Project Watershed is spearheading will not only create habitat for fish and wildlife, help mitigate climate, and increase green space, it will also help our community put reconciliation into action.
On June 30, the students and instructors of Toshikan Traditional Karate and Kobudo, in Courtenay, completed 108 kata (kata is a series of self-defence techniques combined in a traditional form) as fundraiser for the Kus-Kus-Sum project, in appreciation of Project Watershed’s good work for natural habitat of the valley and the estuary.
A variety of native plants, shrubs and trees will be established at Kus-kus-sum as part of the restoration process. This will not only provide food, shelter and habitat for fish and wildlife but also help mitigate climate change. Check out this video to find out more.