A unique art event in Courtenay is supporting the Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum initiative.

Renowned Canadian artists Ken Kirkby and Nana Cook are the painters behind ‘Paintings By the Numbers’, which will be held this summer at the Native Sons Hall.

It’s another one of the local fundraisers adding to the support for the Kus-kus-sum restoration project, which is currently in the money collecting phase.

“Paintings By the Numbers” will have only 50, $500 tickets available to purchase with each one allowing the owner to choose a painting worth between $1,500 and $4,000, based on a raffle system.

The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society says Ken Kirkby first approached them about this fundraiser in 2018, explaining that he wanted to get on board.

“After hearing about Kus-Kus-sum and knowing what a positive effect this will have on salmon stocks and watching the hard work, sweat and tears you all were putting into this initiative, I thought that this was an organization deserving of my support,” says Kirkby.

$15 tickets will also be available to purchase which will get you into the event to enjoy the food and music.

Kus-kus-sum is the name given to the 8.3 acres of concrete next to the 17th Street bridge along the Courtenay River and Comox Road.

There was a sawmill there until 2006 when operations ceased and the equipment was removed.

Since then it has been sitting as a vacant lot.

The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society started raising funds for returning the site to nature at the end of 2017.

The organization has committed to making the final $1 million payment for the land at the end of June of this year.

Caila Holbrook, Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping for Project Watershed, says “the support from the community and beyond has been inspiring. We have met and surpassed all our fundraising goals but we aren’t at the finish line yet.”

The organization has raised $2.6 million to date and over $190,000 so far this winter.

The estimated timeline for the restoration is as follows:

  1. Acquire the land on June 30th, 2020 and initiate removal of the concrete in July.
  2. Continue concrete removal to the end of 2021.
  3. Create the slope and replant the site by the end of 2022.
  4. Remove the wall in 2023 or 2024.

To learn more about the “Paintings By the Numbers’ event for the Kus-kus-sum project, click here, and to donate go to www.kuskussum.ca, or mail a cheque to 2356a Rosewall Crescent.