Kus-kus-sum Fall Update and Letter Writing Appeal
Project Watershed team members Tim Ennis and Caila Holbrook at Kus-kus-sum – photo credit: Kathryn Marlow of CBC
Holland & Company poses with wooden salmon
Catherine Reid Yoga Teacher donates to Kus-kus-sum
Tim Ennis, Senior Kus-kus-sum Project Manager, reported on the situation: “While we have not yet raised the full purchase price of the property, we have successfully negotiated an extension with Interfor to change the closing date to November 30th, 2020. This gives us just over two months to gather the remaining funds, $650,000, for the acquisition of the site.”
Project Watershed is continuing to lobby and apply for funding with the Federal Government, however, they are unsure of Federal Government’s ability to grant us funds in a timely manner and are looking to other sources to cover the gap (the Federal Government has committed to funding a portion of the restoration over the next few years).
Despite the ability to run new fundraising events* or attend community events due to COVID-19, some funds have been coming in to support the Kus-kus-sum initiative. “Over the past month we have received an additional $20,000 from the Ashwell’s in the name of their late son and $15,000 from a longtime supporter who had already donated $17,000.” reports Caila Holbrook, Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping. The organization has also received additional funds from Engel & Volkers, Catherine Reid Yoga, and Blue Spruce Ice Cream. Holland & Company sponsored the last of the small wooden salmon and a larger wooden salmon to go up on the fence that lines the property. Project Watershed urges people to consider joining these donors in making a contribution or re-contributing to complete the acquisition of Kus-kus-sum.
*We did manage to run our Paintings, By The Numbers event which was scheduled for May on September 12th (read more…).
- Potential Donor letter – Another way you can help is to put us in touch with other people, businesses and organizations who may be sympathetic to our cause and have the ability to contribute to the project. All we need is 13 contributions of $50,000! If you know such an entity we have crafted a letter you could send them on our behalf.
- Federal Government Representative Letter – As we are working heavily with the Federal Government, we are asking concerned citizens to send one or more ministers a letter supporting our cause. Such a letter has been drafted below and can be sent to the Honourable Ministers Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Canadian Heritage), Jonathan Wilkinson (Minister of Environment and Climate Change), Bernadette Jordan (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard) and Marc Miller (Minister of Indigenous Services). Please note that our local MP Gord Johns is working diligently with us and we ask that you do not send him a letter.
I would like you to consider joining me in unpaving paradise at Kus-kus-sum in the Comox Valley. Kus-kus-sum is an abandoned sawmill site in the heart of the Valley that runs along a major fish bearing stream at the confluence of a productive estuary. The Kus-kus-sum project seeks to return the site to natural habitat. This will create 8.3 acres of habitat for plants, fish and wildlife, provide recreational and educational opportunities, help mitigate climate change, attenuate localized flooding and put Indigenous reconciliation into action. More information about the project is available at www.kuskussum.ca.
The importance of this project has moved me to donate funds to help it become a reality. Please join me by making a cash contribution or donating securities. If you have any questions about the project or how to make a donation you can contact Caila Holbrook at email@example.com.
Federal Government Representative
I am writing to ask you to support the Kus-kus-sum project in the Comox Valley, British Columbia. Kus-kus-sum is an abandoned sawmill site in the heart of the Valley that runs along a major fish bearing stream at the confluence of a productive estuary. Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is working to return the site to natural habitat. This will create 8.3 acres of habitat for plants, fish and wildlife, provide recreational and educational opportunities, help mitigate climate change, attenuate localized flooding and put indigenous reconciliation into action. More information about the project is available at www.kuskussum.ca.
To date Project Watershed has raised over $2.9 million to acquire the site and restore it to natural habitat. This includes $1 million granted to the project by the Provincial Government and over $800,000 donated by citizens and businesses of the local community. The Federal Government needs to recognize the importance of this project to Indigenous reconciliation, environmental restoration and climate change through a contribution of funds to ensure it moves forward.
The project is at a critical point. Project Watershed has already extended the closing date for the property and needs to secure it by November 30th, 2020. If the balance of the funds required does not materialize by November 30th, the property could go back on the market and we would lose this chance to make a meaningful difference to salmon stocks, reconciliation and the quality of life in the Comox Valley.
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 needs volunteers to help us harvest willow cuttings, and then plant them alongside sections of Mallard Creek.
Deanne McRae and Mackenzie Gartside have started something new in downtown Courtenay – The Uplifters Shop. Unlike a normal for profit retail store, most of the items they sell have some kind of charity kickback. In this way the store “lifts up” a variety of charities both local and abroad. One project they are supporting is Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum initiative.
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.
Nikki Wright from Seachange Marine Conservation Society and Maria Cantazaro from the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) visited our kelp research site at Oyster River and our saltmarsh projects. Maria is a researcher working for the PSF on a report looking at the importance of nearshore, habitat connectivity and estuarine habitat to Pacific salmon.
Join us on September 26th as we participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The cleanup will occur on the Kus-kus-sum property and the adjacent Hollyhock flats area. We will start at 10am and go til about noon.
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.