Funds roll in for Kus-kus-sum, Project Watershed hopes to restore former Field Sawmill site

Apr. 17, 2018 11:30 a.m. – 


A number of groups and individuals have contributed to Project Watershed’s efforts to purchase and restore the former Field Sawmill site on the Courtenay River near the 17th Street Bridge.

The Cumberland Community Forest Society has raised thousands at trivia nights, attendees at Doug Hillian’s retirement party raised a few thousand, and two boys raised more than $100 at their sixth birthday party.

Alexandra Calland and the Estuary Angel (who is matching funds raised) have also contributed significant sums to the project dubbed Kus-kus-sum, in reference to an ancient K’ómoks First Nation village.

“People do amazing things,” said Paul Horgen, board chair of the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society. “There’s a lady who lives in Comox who brought in a jar of coins. She says every day she takes a toonie from her purse and sticks it in a jar, and at the end of the month she donates it to Kus-kus-sum.”

Horgen said Interfor Corporation, the property owner, wants to see some sort of conservation solution at the site.

“They’ve been one of our biggest donors, too,” he said. “We’re hoping to convince the professionals to step up. It’s looking pretty good, but we’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve made some contacts with some of our political leaders, and hopefully that’s going to move in the right direction.”

The entire project will cost about $6.5 million, including restoration, which is a few years down the road. The society has raised $140,000 from the community for land acquisition. It will soon receive another $400,000 from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, which will bump the total to $587,000.

Project Watershed hopes to bring in the balance from provincial, federal, international, corporate and other private donors.

Anyone planning an event and wanting to raise funds for Kus-kus-sum can contact Project Watershed at or (250) 703-2871.


Many thanks to the Comox Valley Record for publishing this article on Kus-kus-sum. Paul Horgen

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians Open House and Kus-kus-sum Presentation

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians is excited to present an open house and information update on the biggest, most ambitious ‘re-wilding’ project ever undertaken in the Comox Valley.

Project Watershed (PW) and the K’ómoks First Nation share a dream to restore the old Fields Sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary salt-mash and riverside forest and in the process reconnect the river to the Hollyhock intertidal channels. The project site is named Kus-kus-sum in recognition of the historic First Nation village once located in the area.

Thursday, April 19, 7 pm in the Lower Native Sons Hall, Dan Bowen, Project Watershed Technical Director, will share the vision for the site’s future and highlight the projects many benefits and historic significance to the Comox Valley.

“The aim of the Kus-kus-sum Project”, says Bowen, “is to restore the Courtenay River channel habitat back to its natural condition – we will ‘un-pave’ the sawmill parking lot and put up a paradise. This ambitious project will make the river and estuary a healthier place not only for fish and wildlife but for all of us.”

The evening’s agenda also includes an overview of past and current projects with an update on Project Watershed’s latest initiatives. You’ll enjoy informal discussions with directors and volunteers and the opportunity to view displays that focus on the varied services Project Watershed provides the community.

In support of Kus-kus-sum, beautiful art cards and posters, chocolate bars, colourful shopping bags and raffle tickets will be for sale. Donations will be accepted at the door. “Every purchase, every donation gets us closer to transforming the eyesore in the heart of our Valley into functioning habitat,” states PW director, Bill Heidrick.

The 2017 recipient of the Chapter’s annual Community Action Award, Project Watershed’s mission as a local, non-profit environmental organization is “to promote community stewardship of Comox Valley Watersheds through education, information and action”.

Everyone is invited on Thursday, April 19 to the Lower Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, at 7 pm to enjoy an informative open house.

Cumberland Forest and Friends Raise $5300 for Kus-kus-sum!

Friends and neighbours from across the Comox Valley came together on March 2nd for a very special fundraising event for the Kus-​kus-sum Project. The Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) crew brought their trivia party event talents to the K’omoks Band Hall to raise funds for this important effort to purchase and restore the old Field Sawmill site.

Cumberland Forest volunteers descended on the K’omoks Band Hall and CCFS Chair Evan Gough and CCFS Director John Gower served as quiz-masters for this fun filled night of brain busting fun, prizes and community building! K’omoks First Nations provided the venue and Cory Frank served up a delicious canteen with local seafood all donated for the cause! My Tech Guys provided technical support and beverage donations from Cumberland Brewing Company, Gladstone Brewing Company and Heavenly Libations rounded out the tasty fun.

26 brave trivia teams included great representation from Village of Cumberland Council, Courtenay City Council, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Project Watershed, Imagine Comox Valley and K’omoks First Nation Band Council.

“From mountain top through streams, lakes, forests, rivers and wetlands to the estuary – the health of the natural environment is something we all care about in the Comox Valley. Regardless of where we live, we share a watershed. The Cumberland community is grateful for the ongoing support, from across the Comox Valley, for our ambitious forest protection efforts and we’re paying it forward for this amazing project!” said CCFS Chair Evan Gough.

The spirit of collaboration and cooperation is alive and well in the Comox Valley. In total $5303 was raised for the Kus-kus-sum Project, $4,803 from event revenues and $500 from a special donation from My Tech Guys presented as part of the evening’s fun. These funds will be matched as part of a special “Estuary Angel” contribution to fundraising efforts for the project this year which means the event helped add $10,606 toward this year’s fundraising goals!

To learn more about the Cumberland Community Forest Society visit