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Some companies won’t do business in Point Roberts

Area chamber says businesses want to avoid hassle of Canadian border rules
Point Roberts crossing

More contractors and construction supply companies are saying no thanks to doing business in Point Roberts rather than dealing with Canadian COVID-related border rules.

That’s the latest from Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce president Brian Calder who says renovation work on a local church and a new home have come to a halt in the past couple of weeks with no concrete company wanting to cross through the border at this time. Typically residents have used Cowden Gravel and Ready Mix in Bellingham while Yard at a Time Concrete in Tilbury brokers its products through Neilson’s Building Centre.

Delivery drivers are required to use the ArriveCan app to provide all their personal and travel information prior to going through the Boundary Bay crossing and back into Canada.

“It’s partly dealing with the ArriveCan app and just the whole border situation,” said Calder. “They are all fed up and they’re busy enough on their own, so we’ve got projects that have stopped here. They were doing foundation work on the church and can’t get concrete and, of course, you can’t start building a home without a foundation.”

There are more than just construction supply companies not wanting to come to Point Roberts. The International Market Place grocery store needs servicing on some freezers.

“(Owner Ali Hayton) has a couple of those shutdown right now because she can’t find somebody who will fix them,” continued Calder. “She’s had a company in Mt. Vernon she has paid half a million dollars over the last 10 years to maintain freezers and stuff in her stores. They advised her in writing they won’t be coming to Point Roberts anymore and that was the end of that.”

Calder added there has been a slight uptick of business at the parcel outlets and gas stations as more B.C. residents realize Point Roberts has a special border exemption that doesn’t require pre-testing to return to Canada. However, it’s nowhere near what is was prior to the pandemic and likely won’t return to that level until Canada drops the requirement of using the ArriveCan app on short trips and the possibility of being given a random COVID test.