Cleanup Success at Kus-kus-sum and Hollyhock Flats
Volunteers loading garbage from the Kus-kus-sum site
Garbage collected from Hollyhock Flats
Full red dumpster at the end of the day
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. People from all walks of life joined Project Watershed in tackling this kilometer of shoreline. “Members of the Rotary Club of Comox Valley (#CVRC) were happy to lend a hand, many people made light work of this big task” said Pieter Vorster, Public Image Director of the Comox Valley Rotary Club. The photos and short video (thanks Sue Vince!) captured from the day illustrate just how industrious it was.
Kus-kus-sum is the concrete area that was once a sawmill located next to the 17th Street bridge along Comox Road. Hollyhock Flats is the neighboring green property that stretches south to the Rotary Viewing Area. Much of the waste came from camps set up on these two properties by people without homes. It is important to remember that these people face a variety of challenges and have very few options. Regardless of their situation they are people and deserve respect. Until our society has a better way of supporting these people, cleaning up abandoned camps is a way we can help and lessen the impact on our environment at the same time (check out 35 Ways To Help the Homeless for more ideas).
A large amount of waste was collected over the two hour event. “We estimate that we gathered some 500 lbs of garbage, filling the red dumpster that was left for us in front of the pump station, and that doesn’t include the large pile of metal that went to be recycled.” reports Caila Holbrook, Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping. Project Watershed would like to thank all the volunteers who helped clean up and the Comox Valley Regional District who generously picked up and disposed of everything.
Dan Bowen, Project Watershed’s Technical Director, was thankful for all the help. Referring to Project Watershed’s initiative to acquire the Kus-kus-sum property and restore it to natural habitat, he said “Next on the agenda for Kus-kus-sum is restoration!”. The next fundraising deadline is November 30, 2020.
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.
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.