Toy Run organizers say costly government demands jeopardize future of event

Hundreds of motorcyclists expected to take part in the 29th annual Fraser Valley Toy Run this weekend.

Hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to take part in the Fraser Valley Toy Run on Sunday.

Hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to take part in the Fraser Valley Toy Run on Sunday.

Hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to roll through Mission, Chilliwack and Abbotsford this Sunday for the 29th annual Fraser Valley Toy Run, but organizers say increased demands by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation are jeopardizing the future of the event.

Every year, motorcyclists gather in Mission and Chilliwack, and ride to Abbotsford bearing more than 1,000 gifts for children in need. Last year, around 1,500 toys were collected, and a further $20,000 was donated to Christmas organizations in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Agassiz and Hope.

But in recent years, the toy run has seen costs increase, and organizers have had to contract a private company to handle traffic control, which was once handled by volunteers, at a cost of more than $2,000. This year, because of increased demands by the Ministry of Transportation, that total is slated to double, according to Barney Hopkins, who co-founded the event.

Hopkins said the ministry is requiring the private company – rather than the Mission RCMP – to guide bikers through the intersection of Highways 7 and 11 as riders depart Mission. Every intersection must also now be controlled by a professional, rather than volunteers, and a detailed traffic plan through all three communities is now required.

“The costs are getting worse and I don’t know how long we are going to keep this toy run going for because everything’s getting so expensive,” Hopkins said.

Participants raise funds throughout the year with bottle drives, bake sales and raffles. But the mounting expenses are taking its toll.

“It’s getting more and more expensive for what is needed and what is required. Every year something new comes up that we have to struggle with,” organizer Rhonda Santini said. “It’s stressful and ongoing and it keeps taking more and more away from the kids and riders.”

She said riders want to be safe, but that the volunteer-driven approach had been working fine with only slightly fewer bikes taking part.

Despite the hurdles, organizers are expecting a good turnout on Sunday, Oct. 18 thanks to a decent weather forecast. Between 700 and 800 bikers are expected to participate. Two separate groups of riders will depart from the parking lot of Value Village in Mission at 9:45 a.m., and from the Sears parking lot in Chilliwack at 9:30 a.m.. They will join up at the Fraser Valley Auto Mall, and arrive at the Ag-Rec Building shortly after 10 a.m. Everyone is invited to stop by the Ag-Rec building, watch the bikes arrive and donate an unwrapped toy.

The Ministry of Transportation released a statement saying: “As we have in years past, the ministry looks forward to working with the toy run organizers and discussing their Traffic Management Plan in more detail. Our goal with any large events like parades, toy drives or demonstrations is to keep pedestrians and the travelling public safe, and to ensure drivers aren’t faced with excessive and unexpected delays.”

Just Posted

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

web
Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

n
Quarry Questions: Supreme Court ruling spells concern for Mission bylaws

Judge ruled that provincial permits overrule municipal bylaws relating to mining activity

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read