Onlookers take in two restored 300 SL class Mercedes Benz vehicles at the 2015 Island Motor Gathering at the Viscount Aero Centre in Sidney.

Island Motor Gathering gaining traction

Annual fundraiser taking to new motorsports track near Duncan

The Vancouver Island Motor Gathering isn’t just about cars.

The Island’s largest automotive gathering prepares to showcase not only hundreds of spectacular vehicles, but the new 2.3-kilometre Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit track near Duncan, and a passion for community that marries what they love with what they know.

“David Foster can throw on a concert because that is what he knows best. For us, it’s cars,” said the GAIN dealer group’s marketing director Cindy Mui. “That’s why we put on a car show, to raise as much money as we can and put it back into the community.”

Their event, set for Sept. 18, is guided by a unified philosophy, recruiting sponsorship to bypass overhead, fuelling an event that serves thousands of visitors, but runs on donated products and volunteerism to maximize fundraising.

All the money raised is directed to two beneficiaries, including the David Foster Foundation, which supports families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. The second is the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, where board chair Alison Taylor said much-needed funds will help replace their overburdened and antiquated hospital in the Cowichan Valley.

“Our hospital is funded for 113 beds (and) routinely operates over that mark. At one point in June our hospital had 151 occupied beds,” Taylor said. “That gives you a sense of how dire the situation is … It’ll take us five to 10 years to get a new facility and these stats will get worse, not better.”

The Duncan resident called their hospital’s situation a “plight,” where staff are doing everything they can, despite being hampered in their ability to provide the best care possible by a lack of equipment and infrastructure. She said having the support of the Island Motor Gathering, however, has buoyed spirits and she looks forward to participating in an event that will help fund important care.

“To see someone new come to us and say ‘we want the foundation to be a benefactor,’ that is fabulous. We don’t often have others approach us and obvious we stand to gain enormously,” Taylor continued. “Not just proceeds of the event, but being present on site and raising awareness on the plight of our hospital.”

After raising $52,000 in 2013 and $75,000 in 2014, the event brought in more than $118,000 in cash donations and $200,000 of in-kind donations in 2015.

Mui says they hope to increase those totals and look forward to handing over the much-needed funds to those who need it most.

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of a company that allows us to support the local charities as much as we do,” she said. “When you meet the recipients of the money, and see how appreciative no matter the amount, whether it is $1 or $100,000, it really humbles you.”

The Motor Gathering takes to the track this Sunday at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, 4063 Cowichan Valley Hwy. For more information visit motorgathering.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

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