Industry steps up for hospital

A fundraising idea spawned just after Christmas finally came to fruition this month

A fundraising idea spawned just after Christmas finally came to fruition this month for Pudge Bawa and others involved in the forest industry in the Cowichan Valley.

Bawa is the president of Marpole Transport, and is also a board member of the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation.

He said his company had a new truck trailer being delivered early in the new year to help haul mill byproducts through the Cowichan Valley from Western Forest Products mills to the Catalyst mill in Crofton.

Bawa said he, and the other members of the CDHF, are always looking for ways to support the foundation, so he thought it would be a good idea to “wrap” the trailer up with advertizing from the forest industry to help with the foundation’s ongoing fundraising campaigns.

“I went to the board with the idea and Jerry Doman [another board member and president of Centurion Lumber] grabbed hold of it and began contacting other companies in the valley,” Bawa said.

“I’m very pleased with the result. Once we got the idea rolling, it was easy to run with it.”

A total of nine forest and trucking companies agreed to put their names on the trailer in support of the CDHF, and the back section of the trailer will be devoted to the foundation’s annual causes, with the fundraising focus  changing every year.

This year, the back section is devoted to helping raise funds for the planned new hospital in the valley, and the companies that are advertising on the trailer have already donated $50,000 toward the cause.

The companies are Catalyst, Centurion Lumber, Coastland Wood Industries, Dodds Lumber, Marpole Transport, Pacific Homes, P&R Trucking, TimberWest and Western Forest Products.

Graham Kissack, a vice president at Catalyst, said his company is always looking for ways to help out in the community, and the CDHF is a “big part” of the valley.

“We’re more than happy to get involved,” he said.

“The construction of a new hospital in the valley is long overdue.”

Plans are underway to build a new, approximately $350-million hospital in the region to replace the more than 40-year-old one on Gibbins Road.

No final decisions have been made at this time as to where the new hospital will be built, but fundraising for the facility is ongoing.

The CVRD is responsible for covering 40 per cent of the cost of the new hospital, with Island Health picking up the rest of the tab. The hospital district has put aside more than $21 million in a reserve fund for the project so far.