Alaska calls for border post to be open 24 hours a day

Canadian closure decision hurts commerce and tourism, says legislators

ALASKAN legislators add to campaign to have Canada open border post 24 hours a day.

ALASKAN legislators voted unanimously this week to urge the Canadian government to keep the border between Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, B.C. open 24 hours a day.

Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA) reduced the hours of the border between the two tiny communities April 1, with a gate now shutting off regular access between the two communities between midnight and 8 a.m.

“The Canadian government made the decision to close the only border crossing between Hyder and Stewart in an effort to save money,” said a release from Representative Dan Ortiz, an independent who represents Ketchikan and area in the state legislature and who sponsored the bill. “That may be a worthy goal but what they have done in reality is negatively impact commerce, tourism and emergency services.”

The vote in the Alaska House of Representatives is the latest in a series of efforts by residentsbusinesses, and politicians on both sides of the border to push CBSA to rethink its decision. Opponents of the reduced hours tout safety – Hyder relies on Stewart’s health care centre and the road is the only evacuation route – as well as tourism and economic concerns. The two communities promote themselves as one destination and in the summer months travel between the border late at night and early in the morning is common.

“Closing a border in the middle of the night may seem like a small thing but the road between these two communities is a lifeline and I don’t believe it wise to jeopardize the local economy and public safety just to save a few dollars,” said Ortiz.

For its part, the CBSA said it has implemented a series of measures to allow emergency access 24 hours a day.

“There are procedures in place to ensure access for emergency services and industrial stakeholders in the event of a situation such as a medical emergency, natural disaster, or if there is risk to critical infrastructure.  Procedures have been developed in consultation with, and have been agreed to, by all local emergency service providers,” said CBSA spokesperson Stefanie Wudel in a statement earlier this month.

Emergency vehicles have been given 24-hour access, she said, and noted that there is a telephone installed at the border services building that residents can use to speak with a CBSA officer and gain access to the gates if medical services are needed. That could include something like a broken arm or a similar situation where an ambulance isn’t necessary but immediate medical attention is needed, CBSA confirmed.

The Alaska House of Representatives Joint Resolution 22 will now be sent to the US Senate for consideration and copies of the resolution have been sent to Canada’s minister of public safety Steven Blaney and Luc Portelance, CBSA president.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Terrace RCMP busy over Riverboat Days weekend

Large number of files involve underage drinking

Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce celebrates big win for LNG

Federal government moves on recommendation to provide relief on steel duties

Terrace resolutions on liquor tax, childcare to be presented at UBCM

City of Terrace agenda takes aim at provincial ‘downloading’

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read