Gaining traction: Cowichan Valley track hosts Island Motor Gathering

The Island’s biggest automotive gathering prepares to showcase not only spectacular vehicles, but a new 2.3-kilometre track.

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

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

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

The Island’s biggest automotive gathering prepares to showcase not only hundreds of spectacular vehicles, but the new 2.3-kilometre track at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit 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 is guided by a unified philosophy, recruiting sponsorship to bypass overhead, fuelling an event serving thousands of visitors, but run on donated products and volunteerism to maximize fundraising.

All the money raised is directed to two beneficiaries, including the David Foster Foundation that supports families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. The second, 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; it routinely operates over the 113 bed 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 aging 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 looks forward to partaking in an event that will help fund care.

After raising $52,000 in 2013, $75,000 in 2014, to 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 looks 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,” Mui 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 Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit at 4063 Cowichan Valley Highway. For more information visit motorgathering.com.

 

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