Business

Point Roberts: “Unreachable economic recovery, no visible relief”

The head of the Chamber of Commerce says ArriveCan, the hassle of other borders that keep traders, and prevent supplies from entering American excursions.

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When Brian Calder overlooks the small sand spit at Point Roberts, he finds a dire situation.

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American outposts remain due to a decline in Canadian shoppers, vacationers and cottages, despite some mitigation of cross-border measures against the COVID-19 health measures imposed by both countries. I’m being hit.

“The economic recovery is out of our reach and no remedy is visible,” said Calder, general contractor and president of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s devastating.”

Point Roberts’ economic activity has probably fallen 90%, according to Calder.

“Contractors usually bring people from what we call’the other side (Bellingham)’,” Carter said, but they enjoyed during the first 18 months of COVID. A special position β€” travel for what was considered an essential job was exempt from the usual COVID protocol β€” is gone.

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“They could drive 24 miles from the border (Peace Arch) to the border (Point Roberts) unless they stopped in Canada. But with ArriveCan, these guys said,” Wait a minute, We are vaxxed, passported, half of us are in Nexus. “

In other words, they can’t care.

“They have reached the level where they said,’That’s enough, we’re not coming anymore.’ “

BC license plates are slowly re-sited at Point Roberts gas bars and stores, but you still don't have to worry about having to line up with pumps.Photo: Courtesy of Linda Hughes
BC license plates are slowly re-sited at Point Roberts gas bars and stores, but you still don’t have to worry about having to line up with pumps.Photo: Courtesy of Linda Hughes PNG

Pump it up

The contractor tells Calder that the $ 5 million work is at a loss due to a shortage of materials such as cement and merchants. The 900-slip Point Roberts Marina is almost empty and for sale. The golf course is also closed and for sale.

Pre-COVID, the town could expect up to 160,000 visitors a month. On an annual basis, 1,439,000 people crossed the Point Roberts border in 2019, 273,112 people were enforced border restrictions in 2020, and 43,572 people crossed the border by the end of June 2021.

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Now that regulations have been deregulated and more is scheduled for April 1, British Columbia citizens are slowly returning to find gasoline that is cheaper than $ 2 per liter.

“We can’t build an economy around a self-service gas station,” said John Resou, a Canadian-American dual citizen who lived in Point Roberts for 23 years before moving to North Vancouver five years ago. Told. He travels there a couple of times a week to check his property and get his email back.

“Point Roberts had a hard time. We lost our population and our business,” Resou said. “Many people are thinking.” Well, as the borders reopen, there will be a spring in Point Roberts, things will bloom and everything will be fine.

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“I think they’re wrong. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it won’t happen.”

Ali Hayton outside Point Roberts Store Marketplace International in the summer of 2021. Hayton, the town's largest employer, was forced to sever half of its 20 staff because of the significant reduction in traffic due to COVID restrictions at the border.Photo: Courtesy of Dean Priestman
Ali Hayton outside Point Roberts Store Marketplace International in the summer of 2021. Hayton, the town’s largest employer, was forced to sever half of its 20 staff because of the significant reduction in traffic due to COVID restrictions at the border.Photo: Courtesy of Dean Priestman PNG

Fountain of hope

Ali Hayton has 10 of her 20 regular staff The International Market Place, where locals had a hard time finding a place to park between the BC plates on its vast grounds.

“I’m a little more optimistic,” Hayton said. “I think the situation is improving.

“Gas prices are declining people, and disseminating information (about relaxed border rules) has helped, and I think April 1st will help again.”

Pre-immigration testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to be provided from April 1st.

However, she is still detained because she is struggling to find a vaccinated merchant who is willing to come to Point Roberts to install the new freezing system her store needs.

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“Vaccine requirements have eliminated many contractors,” she said.

Parts and parcels

Point Roberts may have the highest number of parcel collection and delivery businesses per capita anywhere in North America. It is much cheaper for so many people in Metro Vancouver to use one of them as their business address.

β€œThe business has begun to recover,” said Beth Calder, co-owner of Point to Point Parcel, which relies on Canadians for 95% of its business. “This month the numbers have increased and the business has doubled from the first week of March to the present.”

Due to COVID restrictions, she dismissed eight of her 11 staff when the border was closed in March 2020.

“Now it looks promising and the fingers keep crossing, but it will still take a few years to recover from everything.”

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In the 2020 US Census, Point Roberts had a population of about 1,200, but Calder’s figures show that perhaps one-third is left to work elsewhere. Pre-COVID with a seasonal influx of Canadians can boost the town’s population to about 5,000 between Spring Break and Labor Day.

Ironically, Chris Kaleton, chief of the Whatcom Fire Department, was early on advocating vaccination, with 85% of Point Roberts saying it was ironically identified by Point Roberts residents, according to the Chamber of Commerce Calder. He was said to have been vaccinated at least twice.

“It’s on top of another. We’re so small that no one pays attention to us. Neither side,” Calder said.

“Canada, I know we’re not part of Canada, but we didn’t expect the United States to abandon us. And they abandoned us altogether.”

gordmcintyre@hotmail.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

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Point Roberts: “Unreachable economic recovery, no visible relief”

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