POINT ROBERTS (NEWS 1130) — One of the community leaders in Point Roberts says he’s mystified why his community isn’t part of a border exemption program that gives isolated enclaves cross-border travel access between Canada and the United States.
Brian Calder, who heads the Chamber of Commerce in Point Roberts, says he’s at a loss to figure out why his community is not among four others in Canada and the US which have been granted exemptions to the 14-day quarantine, allowing them to cross the border.
He’s openly wondering whether the BC government might have had a hand on it.
“I don’t know if this is the case or not, but our province might have said leave probably Point Roberts alone.”
Calder adds, “proactive, sensible action” needs to be taken right away and has some recommendations in mind for the changes.
“Issue passes to allow Point Roberts residents to travel straight through Canada to Blaine,” he suggests.
He says drivers should be asked to wear a mask, stay in the car and not make any unessential stops.
“Pre-COVID, we were being monitored and they knew when we went from Point Roberts to Blaine or Bellingham … They knew how long we’d been, and they’d say ‘oh you took 25 minutes I guess you didn’t get out of the car,” he explains.
“We were being monitored anyhow. So why not issue passes to Point Roberts? …. It’s simple to accomplish. The trouble is no one pays any attention to Point Roberts. They just say, ‘lock them down.’ And here we sit, locked in.”
About half of the Point Roberts residents are dual Canadain-US citizens and Calder says Canadians own about 75 per cent of the properties here.
“So, the Canadian contingent here is huge. It’s more prevalent than actual just straight US citizens in Point Roberts.”
Calder says the community has more to lose with COVID since it’s such a small community.
He notes Point Roberts has seen its economy shrink by about 85 per cent since the start of the pandemic.