The Point Roberts Taxpayers Association (PRTA) will be holding its annual general meeting (AGM) this month, on Thursday, July 21, at 5 p.m., at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern (outside patio, weather permitting). Appetizers and soft beverages will be provided by the association (and a cash bar will be available inside the Reef).
We look forward to resuming this tradition of in-person AGMs, with stimulating speakers and lively discussion, after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. In 2020, we were unable to celebrate PRTA’s 50th anniversary, so this year we’ll actually be looking back at 52 years of service to the community.
We are honored this year to have as our keynote speaker, Lisa J. Brown, PhD, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. Previously, Dr. Brown has served as the chancellor of the University of Washington, Spokane, and as a member of the Washington State Legislature, including eight years as the first Democratic female majority leader of the Washington State Senate. She holds a PhD in economics. The theme of her remarks at our AGM will be “Washington’s Economic Recovery: Helping Communities Thrive,” followed by Q&A with the audience.
Our state representative Sharon Shewmake is also expected to participate. PRTA is very grateful to representative Shewmake and her staff for facilitating our invitation to Dr Brown.
PRTA membership is open to all Point Roberts property owners (as well as full-time renters). We sincerely hope you will join the association for only $10 annual dues (U.S./Canadian at par) for individual or household membership; but it’s not required. Everyone is welcome.
Please mark your calendars to come to the Reef on July 21 to join us in celebrating over half a century of service to our community as per our motto, “United States and Canadian Citizens Working Together for Point Roberts, WA.”
Mark Robbins, PRTA president
While Point Roberts might not consider itself a resort town, we are experiencing some of the same issues regarding housing for workers. Affordable rentals are going the way of the Dodo as more people move to “Covid-safe” Point Roberts, buying homes that were once rentals.
There are several Point Roberts businesses currently looking for employees. Shipping company workers, gas station attendants, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, grocery checkout clerks are all needed here on the Point. Why are these businesses having trouble filling these positions? There are several groups of people on the Point. Vacationers, who own homes and visit them occasionally. Retired people who live here full-time that don’t need or want to work. Professionals working from home, and those who need to work to live here. I’ll call them service workers for a lack of a better name.
Vacationers, retirees and professionals mostly all own their own homes. Some service workers own their own homes here, but many rent their homes. When the property values rise and the rental owners sell their property, where will these renters go? There are almost no rental properties within the reach of service workers. They can’t afford $2,000 – $3,000 a month in rent, so they have to leave Point Roberts, reducing the number of service workers even more.
There are other services that need to be filled. We need electricians, plumbers, building contractors, carpenters, dog groomers, etc. These workers won’t commute to Point Roberts on a daily basis. These needs could be filled if they could find homes to rent for them and their families.
Many homeowners here understand the issue of not being able to get their roofs, electrical wiring, appliances and plumbing fixed, or waiting months for an someone to help them. This issue affects them directly.
Point Roberts hopes to build Green House Project care homes for residents needing special care. They will need to include affordable housing for nurses and other caregivers.
The business community needs to support these workers by buying empty homes and renting them to the service workers. Residents of Point Roberts need to support this goal and owners of empty homes need to rent their properties.
As the owner of Point Roberts Computer Services, I support many residents, fixing their computers, setting up their TVs and streaming devices, installing security systems and providing other electronic services. I will end up closing shop and moving away if I can’t find a place to live here on the Point. I’m aware of several other service workers desperately looking for places to live.
If Point Roberts isn’t worker-friendly, it will end up a “golden handcuffed” community with businesses having to supplement workers’ housing, causing them to raise their prices or go out of business due to a lack of workers.
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