September 2018: Letters to the Editor

The Editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, a Canadian artist did not paint an accurate picture of his interaction with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Point Roberts Port of Entry. The artist’s letter contained several unfounded accusations and misleading information about CBP and the process to which he was subjected.

First off, the artist claims he was teaching senior citizens art at his partner’s studio. Research of open source information determined he was in fact teaching at his partner’s studio for profit, which he admitted under oath. This illegal employment was confirmed when a traveler stated they were entering Point Roberts to take lessons from the artist for a fee of $45. At no point was a senior citizen or anyone else “harangued” to glean this information.

Additionally, the artist admitted he knew this was a violation of the law and had given false information to CBP officers on previous occasions. Due to his material misrepresentations, he was deemed inadmissible according to the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

The artist alleges he was going to paint a mural at a local gas station, volunteering his time. His services as an artist to paint a mural do not meet the requirements established by the INA.

Furthermore, to qualify as a B-1 visitor, a person may not be seeking entry to perform any type of labor for hire, no matter where the remuneration is generated.

The artist says he was assessed a $1,000 fine by CBP. However, CBP does not issue civil or administrative penalties in conjunction with processing under 8 CFR 235 (Expedited Removal). Processing is strictly administrative and does not include fines.

The artist claims he was detained by CBP for 20 hours; but a review of CBP systems revealed the artist was interviewed, processed and released within five hours and 39 minutes. It’s important to note that he was provided several breaks throughout the interview, provided water and given the opportunity to care for his dog.

In addition, CBP’s inspection determined the artist did not maintain an un-relinquished domicile in Canada, as required to be admissible to the U.S. as a visitor. Under oath, he admitted to living in his commercial studio unbeknownst to his landlord. He also admitted he was living four nights a week in Point Roberts, and had no intent of obtaining a residence outside of the U.S. due to current real estate prices in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Finally, CBP officers process more than 1 million travelers a day at U.S. ports of entry and are thoroughly trained to enforce U.S. laws and regulations fairly and uniformly. They are committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect while enforcing the laws of the United States.

Brad Denson, port director

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Before the folks on the advisory board get too yippy skippy over their plans, I suggest they read a copy of the 1 cent per-gallon gas tax regulations. It is written in a very ham-handed manner and says the funds may only be used for “streets and roads.” That is pretty limited.

I suppose the garden club project could be interpreted as beautifying a road. Even that is a stretch on the regulation. If the wording were to be amended to match that of the state gas tax regulations, there might be more flexibility. A joint venture of the local voters and taxpayers groups failed to get that approved by the legislature. There is virtually no hope of that situation changing. It is opposed due to the fear by gasoline companies that other localities would attempt to qualify for a local tax which would impact their prices. They have a powerful lobby. I urge the advisory committee folks to familiarize themselves with the limitations on use of the fund before wasting a lot of time proposing schemes. Some of us have been there and done that and there are many more pleasant ways to waste one’s time.

Ruby White

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Just talked to yet another couple of poor Canadian property owners forced to sell their lot in Point Roberts on account of the secretive and malicious actions of the individual or persons who essentially weaponized Whatcom County zoning restrictions to target and harass them. They are only the latest of taxpayers, many of them elderly, with heartbreaking stories about being driven from their beloved summer homes. To those responsible, your actions were both cowardly and despicable, resulting in the loss of friends and neighbors, many of whom have lived here for decades. You made good people fearful and paranoid about their neighbors. You made them feel unwelcome in our community. You have made Point Roberts a colder, meaner place. Shame.

John Sheppard

Point Roberts

The Editor:

In advance of its closing I would like to thank the staff of the Point Roberts Clinic, both past and present, for years of dedicated and appreciated service. They have been, literally, lifesavers. I don’t really know why the clinic is closing … the real reasons, not the rumors and personal attacks that seem to spread around Point Roberts like the wildfires of California. I don’t know why the numbers dropped, or what, or who, suddenly caused the “increasing community turmoil.” I don’t know why Unity Care was given what they needed to close a clinic obviously less profitable than others. I do know, that for myself and many others, I’m not looking forward to more traffic and border crossings, just to get much needed medical treatment that was previously available right down the street. And while I’m sitting in those lineups I will always wonder … why?

Thanks again to all of the clinic staff. You’ve been great!

Bill Knowles

Point Roberts

(Editor note: There are no plans to close the local health clinic. Please see hospital district superintendent Barb Wayland’s letter.)

The Editor:

This letter is seemingly late in expressing my gratitude to the many members of my community, friends, organizations, and the people who serve us daily for our safety. I had a fall on concrete walkway of a Ladner shopping centre on June 19. Shop owners called 911 for the Delta Ambulance to transport me to Delta Hospital, all of who I thank. After X-rays, the medical staff agreed to let me call into the Point Roberts Clinic to secure an ambulance to transport me to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.

Our fire chief arranged two paramedics and two volunteer firefighters making it possible for me to be picked up at the Delta Hospital in Ladner and transported to Bellingham. I think we made history that day with two close communities working together to make this unusual arrangement. I will be thankful for many years for this effort made on my behalf. After a successful hip replacement and a brace on my compromised previous knee replacement, I was whisked away to Stafholt Care Home in Blaine for three weeks of care. During my absence, friends were in and out of my home and garden tending to my daily maintenance. Friends contributed to rearranging my home and the Circle of Care jumped in to finalize the final moving of large pieces in the living room with the help of the fire department. The fire chief and Virginia Lester came to see me after my return ensuring that I was comfortable and introducing their newly organized “care” for our community. They are focused on allowing seniors to feel they can depend on “care” when needed, so that seniors feel secure in staying in our homes without need to leave for the mainland.

The Circle of Care arranged many volunteers to visit with wonderful lunches and help with transport to our clinic for physical therapy appointments. So many have shown up at my door with smiles and encouragement, new faces and old friends. We are most fortunate to have the Circle of Care on the Point. Annelle Norman, your endless attention to seeing my needs have been met with the help of the volunteers  and my many dear friends has been so appreciated.

Nancy King

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Local access to quality healthcare is important for all of us, and the Point Roberts Public Hospital District is totally focused on maintaining that for our community. On behalf of our commissioners and our clinic staff, I want to thank all of you who are speaking up in support of our efforts, and for the many ideas and suggestions. We are experiencing a good response to our request for proposals, and conversations are underway with potential service providers.

I also want to thank our clinic staff for their continued devotion to their patients and the mission of the clinic. Although we are working hard to assure no interruption in clinic services, it is impossible not to have a sense of uncertainty about the future. Despite this pressure, Natalie, Kristy, Fran, and Reneé continue to do their work for the community. We are very grateful for the dedication of these individuals.

Please feel free to email me at superintendent@prphd.org or to leave a message on the hospital district voicemail at 360/945-5040 with your questions, comments, or suggestions. Emails are checked more frequently, but I will respond regardless.

Barbara Wayland, superintendent

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Each fall for two to three weeks, we in Tsawwassen are treated to the marvelous daily sight of thousands of Canada Geese and Snow Geese flying overhead and coming to rest in the Southlands before journeying south. Five million migratory birds rest and recover in Delta each year. This yearly spectacle makes Tsawwassen a beautiful place to live, aiding migratory birds and incorporating nature in our shared environment.

Unfortunately, the migratory birds’ traditional flyway and resting site are being threatened by the proposed development of industrial greenhouses and a parking lot just a few meters and immediately east of the Forest by the Bay subdivision.

Forest by the Bay residents were alarmed and dismayed earlier this summer at the sight of large equipment levelling the land, cutting trees and depositing gravel directly behind their homes. It was determined that the purchaser of the land did not have a permit – consequently, the municipality of Delta issued a stop work order. This was front page news in the June 27 issue of the Delta Optimist.

Concerned citizens in Tsawwassen and Point Roberts are dismayed at this potential blight in their vicinity. Greenhouses emit large amounts of light which can be seen long distances, have fans creating noise pollution and, if marijuana crops are grown, emit a foul odor that some growers have used chemically harmful “air fresheners” to mask. Currently, open air soil-based vegetable crops are grown in this area.

In our opinion, we must stop any development at 5761 6th Avenue to both protect migratory birds long established and traditional habitat as well as prevent noise, air, and light pollution in our residential neighborhoods. Industrial greenhouses must be sited far away from the heart of Tsawwassen.

It is our shared duty to protect and preserve this precious habitat for these birds. For more information you may wish to check out Concerned Citizens of Delta South at ccods.ca and consider filling out the on-line survey and/or downloading the petition.

Don and Beverly Alder

Delta

The Editor:

Will anyone be held accountable for the inexcusable decision to install aluminum docks in such an exposed location as Lighthouse Marine Park? Did anyone ask to see some 10-year-old aluminum docks in exposed conditions before the decision was made? I have been in the marina business for 40 years and I shook my head when I saw these floats going in.

As noted, the old wooden docks lasted 16 years. They could be repaired and held together with bolts, chains and wood. Local contractors could do the work. Wood is not rigid and flexes with swells. There are scores of old wooden docks up and down the coast still serving their communities. There are no old aluminum docks. Aluminum frames will flex but the welds do not and they will fail over time. It is extremely expensive to repair, as I know of no portable aluminum welders.

Port Metro Vancouver is always trying to clear out old wooden docks from the river. Perhaps the county should make them an offer. Don’t laugh. It might be wiser than repairing these if they are just going back in the same location.

Dave Harris

Vancouver

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