The coronavirus pandemic has not deterred the Alberni Valley Lions Club from holding its 48th annual auction. They simply moved it online.
This is the second year the auction will be carried out completely online, auction chair George Smith said. “We couldn’t broadcast last year so we had to do something. With COVID we lucked out that we could do our event this year and it’s very COVID-friendly.”
More than 200 items have been listed, “which was quite surprising. Earlier we thought we were going to have to cancel it. With COVID-19 we thought we can’t go knocking on doors of these poor merchants who are suffering.”
That was in the spring. By fall, those merchants were urging the Lions to keep going with their auction, so they went for it, Smith said. The auction website went live on Oct. 24 for viewing items.
Bidding begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. All items are listed with a photo and description at avlionsauction.com. A person needs to register for a free account in order to bid on items. This year there is a new auto bid feature where a person can set their maximum bid; anytime they are outbid their name is automatically added with an incrementally higher bid until it reaches their maximum. If someone sets a maximum for an item that is higher than the first person’s they receive a notification that they have been outbid.
Some of the specialty items up for grabs this year include a local fishing trip worth $500, a crab trap kit, NHL jersey donated by pro goalie and Port Alberni hockey product Laurent Brossoit, an adjustable bed foundation worth $350, two “floater coats” for boaters (one donated by the Port Alberni Port Authority), a 2.5-tonne floor jack worth $350 and a Stihl shop vac from LB Woodchoppers.
The auction closes Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. Items can be picked up at the Port Alberni Train Station, 3100 Kingsway Ave. on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 1–4 p.m.
The auction is one of the Lions Club’s largest fundraisers besides its annual gaming grant, he explained. The auction has raised well over $200,000 over the years.
The fundraiser and gaming grant are harmonious in that the club must raise funds in order to qualify for its gaming grant. The BC Gaming Commission has given charities a break due to COVID-19 and expanded the amount of time they have to spend their funds. The commission has indicated it will still be issuing gaming grants for 2021.
“There has been no word that they are going to reduce payouts, but you have to apply in the same manner (as other years),” Smith said.