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Salish Sea Sentinel | July 17, 2024

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Kus-kus-sum estuary timeline

Kus-kus-sum estuary timeline

Circa 1,300 years ago and onwards — Estuary used to fish by local Indigenous people using traditional methods such as weirs. 

Late 1940s — Site cleared of trees to make way for Field Sawmill. 

1949 — Field Sawmill moves from former site to new Courtenay River location. 

1969 — Field family retires mill. 

1970s — New mill owners use marsh area as landfill for oil cans, wood chips, wire and other trash. B.C. NDP government buys 25.5 acres to prevent destruction of adjacent Hollyhock Marsh. 

1973 — Mill sold again to Gregory Manufacturing, then to Primex Forest Products. 

2000 — Primex faces economic problems and lays off employees. 

2001 — Interfor buys out Primex and acquires sawmill. 

2003 — Mill operates at a loss of $8 million. 

2006 — Sawmill closes. 

2008 — Sawmill is put up for sale. 

2017 — Fundraising begins by Project Watershed to buy sawmill site and restore estuary. 

2019 — B.C. NDP government grants $1 million to project. 

Late 2020 — Final payment made to Interfor to acquire land. 

2020 – 2024 — Restoration work: Remove concrete, restore ecology of site, remove wall. 

With files from Project Watershed.