Samantha Hackett presents master of ceremonies Mike Jacobsen a generous cheque to the Tofino General Hospital Foundation during the philanthropic event at Shelter Restaurant on April 12. (Pilot House Media Photo)

Tofino and Ucluelet raise over $185K for hospital

“It’s a statement of our town’s values and what makes it so special to live here.”

The West Coast raised a stunning $185,486 at the fifth annual Tofino General Hospital Foundation fundraiser at Shelter Restaurant on April 12.

Hospital Foundation chairperson Arlene McGinnis said the money is being put towards new medical equipment and getting the hospital set-up with Wi-Fi.

“We have a very great bunch of people in our communities. We had lots of support. A huge thank you to everybody that participated or volunteered their time,” said McGinnis.

Once again, Tim Hackett from Long Beach Lodge presented the TGHF with a cheque for $10,000.

“He’s made this his mission that he’s going to do this every year,” said McGinnis.

Shelter Restaurant staff donated their time to work the event and the restaurant itself donated the three-course meal and all the liquor revenue.

Shelter owner Jay Gildenhuys said it was an amazing evening.

“The support from the community is really something. To raise that kind of money, over 100K, for the hospital in such a small town is unprecedented. It’s a statement of our town’s values and what makes it so special to live here,” said Gildenhuys.

“Shelter and the people that work there are amazing,” praised McGinnis. “They go above and beyond to make it a really nice evening. They really do. They work free of charge.”

Leftover funds are being put in a savings account for the replacement hospital, according to McGinnis.

“We’ve been working with Vancouver Island Health Authority on [the replacement hospital] for over a year, and we’re trying to get the minister of health up here to look at our hospital so that he fully understands the need for a replacement hospital,” she said.

“It cannot handle the overload that we are getting into emerge or patients that are admitted. We just need more room. This hospital is old, it’s tired, it’s foundation is cracking and you can’t fix that.”

McGinnis went on to say that she thought it would be cheaper to build a new hospital than to try fix something that’s past its age.

“It’s time that Island Health step up and acknowledge that we do need this new hospital and we need it sooner than later,” she said.

Once more, McGinnis offered a sincere thanks to all the TGHF supporters.

“I’ve got a really good team on the Foundation. It’s not one person doing it, it’s the team that does it and that’s the only way that you can do it.”

READ MORE: Tofino’s housing crisis spilling into hospital

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