Over $25,000 was raised in donations and pledges to kick-off the fundraising to acquire and restore Kus-kus-sum last week. “It was very inspiring to see all the people and commitments that were made at the Keeping It Living Kick-off event” said Paul Horgen, Project Watershed Chair. Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel welcomed the crowd and said a few words about the cultural importance of the site to the K’ómoks people as it once was an area where the dead were put to rest in boxes or on wooden platforms in trees. City of Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian was very encouraging and supportive when he addressed the crowd, making a pledge to donate all funds raised at his retirement party to the Kus-kus-sum initiative. Tricia St. Pierre, owner of Locals Restaurant, spoke to the flooding exacerbated by the wall and unattractive quality of the site. She made it clear natural habitat would be a welcome change and volunteered to distribute information and requests for sponsorship to her customers.

Transforming the industrial site into natural habitat was compared to performing a coronary surgery for the estuary – keeping the heart of our community living. People at the event were reminded that q’waq’wala7owkwa (Keeping It Living) means more than just having a zero impact but instead having a positive long term relationship with our ecosystem.

To inform people and encourage donations a 2x3ft diagram of a section of the paved property was on display, as people gave money they sponsored a green habitat component and placed it on the map, changing it from grey to green. In this same vein, near the end of the event, people were asked to help unpave the parking lot and put up a paradise. A wide range of people stepped forward, said a few words and made donations ranging from $200 to over $2,000.

Local artist Martha Jablonski-Jones, who has donated her artwork “Long Road to Comox”, was present as was artist Ian Fry, who has created and donated the images of the habitat components that people can sponsor.

Long Road to Comox – Martha Jablonski-Jones

Shane Philips of Island Soul Films made a video that gives a brief look at the event and photographers John Bonner, Rob Haigh and Megan Lawrence also helped capture the evening.

While this event was a success, we still have $75,000 to raise by December and another $400,000 after that. Please help keep up the momentum and donate today.

We need sponors, volunteers, people to host fundraisers and more. Visit kuskussum.ca to find out how you can contribute to this initiative.

(Left to Right) Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian, K’ómoks First Nation Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, Project Watershed Chair Paul Horgen,  – Photo Credit Bonner Photography

Habitat Components You Can Sponsor

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