Outside of the city of Courtenay, the K’ómoks Guardians are working with Project Watershed Society to restore a former sawmill site, turning the land back into a saltmarsh estuary. Once restoration is complete, the estuary will connect with the Hollyhock Flats and provide quality habitat for fish, birds, and native plants.
K’ómoks First Nation has partnered with the City of Courtenay and Project Watershed to purchase the property, which has been vacant since the early 2000s, and carry out restoration work. In recognition of the K’ómoks’ deep history and relationship to the area, the K’ómoks First Nation has named the site Kus-kus-sum.
CHEK News recently toured the site and interviewed K’ómoks Guardian Watchmen Manager Cory Frank, who shared the story behind the Kus-kus-sum name.
“It turns out there was a village on the other side and at the bottom end of this site there was some tree burials and stuff there and that’s sort of where this site gets its name from,” said Frank, in a segment that aired on April 21, 2022.
Project Watershed began restoration work in the spring of 2021, demolishing old buildings and removing concrete and steel before re-introducing native plants and beginning land contouring. The K’ómoks Guardians have been working closely with Project Watershed staff and volunteers to complete archaeological assessments and carry out restoration and monitoring work.
Restoration is expected to complete in 2024, after which the site will be jointly owned by K’ómoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay.
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