Chilliwack’s famous pink car is the focus of a fundraising effort for the Salvation Army. Southern Irrigation partner/co-owner Jeff Oostenbrink unveiled the ‘Save the Car’ campaign on social media Friday, and the fate of the iconic landmark is now in the community’s hands. Southern Irrigation is ambitiously trying to raise $500,000 to build a new facility for the local Salvation Army, with the car’s future hanging in the balance.
“We’ve created a few benchmarks and our first threshold is $50,000,” Oostenbrink explained. “If we achieve that benchmark, we will sell the car to the highest bidder.
“But if we can’t meet that minimum threshold, the car will be crushed.”
The next threshold is $100,000. If Chilliwackians can ante up that much then the car’s body will be restored and it will be integrated into the landscape at the new Southern Irrigation property, which is the old Pick-A-Park property near Lickman Road. Since the early 90s the pink car has sat on its base high in the air, welcoming eastbound travelers on Highway 1, and Oostenbrink said that by meeting the $100,000 threshold, it would continue to do so.
But the ultimate goal is to raise the full $500,000 by Oct. 31, 2023. If that happens, Oostenbrink said the pink car will get a full restoration.
“And we’ll use it in parades, charity events and community events,” he said.
The leadership team at Southern Irrigation visited the Chilliwack Salvation Army property at 45746 Yale Road in December 2021 and saw firsthand how badly the charitable organization needs an upgrade.
“Our buildings right now, they are not good. They’re awful and we really want to get into something new,” said Chilliwack Salvation Army captain Matt Kean in a Southern Irrigation Instagram video. “If you want to see how bad the buildings are, by all means come by and have a tour. We’ll show you how great the programs are, but also how terrible our buildings are.”
Josh Draheim, community partnerships coordinator at the Chilliwack Salvation Army, said they’ve maxed out what they can do with the buildings they have, which he described as “disjointed, cramped and inefficient.”
“A redeveloped property would allow us to expand our capacity to serve the community of Chilliwack, fix some of these inefficiencies and reduce some of these costs it takes to maintain the buildings, so we are able to put more money into the programs themselves,” Draheim said. “Jeff (Oostenbrink) was very, very clear when he told us that ‘Guys, your buildings are falling apart and we want to help you.’”
Chilliwack Salvation Army helps the community by operating the local food bank, emergency shelter and many other programs. For more info, visit https://chilliwacksa.ca/.
Southern Irrigation has set up a donation page at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/save-the-pink-car-campaign/ where people can make contributions and get a tax receipt.