COURTENAY, B.C.- Project Watershed has reached an important goal in their Kus-kus-sum venture.

The group plans to restore the old Field Sawmill site along the Courtenay River to the natural functioning habitat it was before it was developed.

The site is located beside the 17th Street Bridge in Courtenay.

Project Watershed recently met their first fundraising goal of $100,000.

“The whole cost of the project is 6.5 million dollars,” said Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping.

“That’s to (acquire) and restore the site. However, we are looking for $500,000 from the local community,” she said.

Holbrook said that they have a deal with the Interfor Corporation to purchase the land.

“That’s why we’re raising funds, to acquire the site, so that we can continue on to restore it in the future,” said Holbrook.

Project Watershed started fundraising at the end of September, with more than 240 donors contributing so far.

She added that a special “Estuary Angel” will also be matching all funds donated from the community, up to $150,000, between now and the end of 2018.

“The idea is that we can purchase this site by the end of 2019, and we will be starting restoration at the end of 2019, or in 2020,” she said.

“So within five years, (people) should be able to see a remarkable difference at that site.”

All of the cement and structure on the site will be removed. The site will be regraded to look like Hollyhock Flats, the natural area to the south of site.

“Things are going very well, and everything looks very positive, and we think that we are going to meet all of our goals that we have set forward for the next couple of years.”

For more details on the Kus-kus-sum initiative, and to donate, visit Project Watershed’s website.