For nearly as long as there's been a Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall there's been a Sunday car sale in the parking lot. It's as much a tradition in Tsawwassen as the service club who operate it, the Tsawwassen-Boundary Bay Lions.
"I moved here in 1979 and it was already started at that time," says Lions past-president Gary Keller, a member of the club for close to 25 years. "It might even have been a year old. The Lions were given this spot by the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall and Century Group about 16 or 17 years ago and it's been one of our most successful campaigns we've had for earning money in the community so we can give back to the community."
The Sunday car sale is as simple as showing up and registering with the Lions on site. A volunteer will check the paperwork to ensure the vehicle is properly insured and then it's just $15 to have the car parked there all day long. If it doesn't sell, the owner can come back on a consecutive Sunday and just pay $10. The sale is for private sellers only, and each registrant receives a "For Sale" sign.
Gary says most sellers are local or from the Greater Vancouver Area, but there are people who take the ferry over from Victoria or drive in from the Interior.
"So the reputation of the sale is well ingrained," he adds.
The Sunday car sale is one of the biggest income earners for the Lions, and the service club puts all the money back into the local community. It was proceeds from the car sale, in fact, that allowed the club to purchase a 26-foot mobile kitchen unit in 2012, which now caters up to eight events each summer. Proceeds from the mobile kitchen, along with their other community events like Christmas tree chipping, goes right back into South Delta charitable organizations.
For instance, last October the club donated $50,000 to the Reach Child and Youth Development Society to help build the $5 million, 20,000-square-foot "Building for Children Together" project in Ladner, which will service developmentally disabled children in South Delta.
Not only that, the club managed to secure $50,000 USD from Lions International headquarters in Chicago to chip in to the project as well.
"So that's quite a feather in our cap."
Typically, the Lions will have four or five volunteers run the car sale each Sunday. The first shift begins at 7:30 a.m. to set up and begin vehicle registrations, and then more volunteers are needed throughout the day as the cars are on the lot until 7 p.m.
Why not come by next Sunday? You never know what kind of deal you might find.
"There's many people who have bought and sold two or three cars here. Some buy them for their kids when they're going back to school. Small cars seem to go very quickly. Once again, we're indebted to the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall and Century Group for providing this community service."