The three main partners of the Kus-kus-sum project are the K’ómoks First Nation, City of Courtenay, and Project Watershed. Each of these partners has an important role to play in the purchase, restoration and long-term maintenance of the Kus-kus-sum site. In 2021, a Bare Trust agreement was signed that outlined the ownership of the Kus-kus-sum property. This agreement will be updated and adjusted as agreed upon by the partners. The three organizations have also formed a Partnership Committee that meets regularly to discuss and make decisions concerning the project.
2017 – Launched Kus-kus-sum Initiative with the K’ómoks First Nation and City of Courtenay – Bonner Photography
2018 – Memorandum of Understanding Signed Between Partner Groups – Danielle Dufour
2018 – Partners at the K’ómoks First Nation Administration Building – Danielle Dufour
The K’ómoks First Nation is located in the heart of the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The people called K’ómoks today referred to themselves as Sahtloot, Sasitla, leeksun, Puntledge, Cha’chae, and Tat’poos. These peoples were stewards of the lands and waters of the Comox Valley from time immemorial and feel that it is inherently their duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat in this area which includes the Kus-kus-sum site.
The Kómoks First Nation is an active partner in the Kus-kus-sum project; they participate in project negotiations and discussions as well as fundraising and restoration activities. They have raised funds through grant acquisition and donations from band members for auctions and dinners. The K’ómoks First Nation Guardian Watchmen work onsite as archeological monitors and environmental monitors and the K’ómoks First Nations’ joint venture partners complete components of the project when feasible. After it’s successful restoration, the Kus-kus-sum property will be rematriated, or restored to, the K’ómoks First Nation. This land transfer is currently under way.
The City of Courtenay is a culturally diverse, scenic city of approximately 26,000 people on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and within the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation. The City of Courtenay proudly serves the community by providing a balanced range of sustainable municipal services. The Kus-kus-sum site lies within their jurisdiction.
The City of Coutenay has been heavily involved in the negotiations and discussions regarding the purchase, restoration, and ownership of the site. During the fundraising period the City covered the cost of land taxes and made the property tax exempt after the purchase of the site. They support the coordination of work, permitting, and approvals needed to restore the site and help coordinate with the other municipalities.
Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is a registered non-profit environmental society, with Canadian charitable tax status, focused on promoting community stewardship of Comox Valley watersheds through education, information, and action. Project Watershed currently manages research, restoration, habitat assessment, conservation, and education and outreach projects in the K’ómoks Estuary and other watersheds throughout the Comox Valley. Their largest project to date is the Kus-kus-sum project. Project Watershed has been the leader of this initiative and is managing the fundraising and restoration process. Once the site is restored, they will continue to monitor and help maintain the site. To learn more about Project Watershed visit our About Page.
Land Transfer and Title
Project Watershed is recognized internationally for its freshwater and marine stewardship, restoration and science capabilities. Prior to purchasing the site, Project Watershed discussed ownership of the site with the K’ómoks First Nation, due to its historical and cultural ties to the site, and the City of Courtenay, due to its experience in managing and owning park or conservation lands. On February 26th, 2021, ownership of the Kus-kus-sum property was transferred to the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society from Interfor Corporation. Project Watershed is holding the land “in trust” for the K’ómoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay while details of land agreement are finalized between all three parties. Title to land will then transfer to K’ómoks First Nation, with Project Watershed remaining as site manager throughout the restoration process.