B.C. residents want border exemption to check on homes, animals in Point Roberts
A warning sign seen at the Canada-U.S. border between Delta, B.C., and Monument Park in Point Roberts, Wash., on Tuesday March 13, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
VANCOUVER -- British Columbians who own property in Point Roberts are petitioning the government for an exemption to the border closure so they can check on their homes, boats and even horses.
Kevin McIntosh, who started the Change.org petition, said he and other property owners want a special dispensation that would allow them to briefly visit under "controlled conditions" – meaning they would have no contact with any of the approximately 1,300 full-time residents of the tiny pene-exclave.
"I am unable to maintain or remove my Canadian-licensed pleasure craft which is moored at the Point Roberts Marina," he wrote in the petition, adding that prolonged inattention could lead to "unattended boats full of fuel sinking."
McIntosh noted that people who board horses in town are also growing increasingly anxious to check up on them.
"Animal owners with strong emotional ties to their charges are suffering in a manner unique from, but in addition to, that borne by the rest of us," he said.
As of Friday evening, the petition had been signed more than 2,000 times.
A number of signatories raised concerns about everything from leaks to raccoon and skunk infestations at their cabins, some of which are aging and in need of regular maintenance.
One woman said she wished she had "shut off and disconnected gas, turned off water, turned off hot water tank, turned off or unplugged appliances" before the pandemic hit.
They also argued there would be little risk of Canadians bringing back the virus, claiming there have been zero cases reported in Point Roberts so far.
There narrowest geographic breakdown of cases available on the Whatcom County Health Department website is by school district. It shows the Blaine district, which includes Point Roberts, has only seen 39 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Residents of Point Roberts have their own petition calling for a special dispensation that would allow them to cross the border into Canada and back into the U.S. in Blaine. Crossing the border twice is the only way to access the rest of the state by land.
The only other options are to travel by private boat or airplane, which they said costs $135 each way and is only available once a week.