Letters to the Editor – October


The Editor:

On behalf of our neighborhood at the south end of Maple Beach, we want to express our sincere thanks to our local sheriff’s deputy, the emergency medical team from the Point Roberts fire department and the Airlift Northwest crew that responded to the medical emergency that our dear friend and neighbor suffered on our beach on August 30.

The first paramedic arrived within seven minutes of our placing the 911 call to the county. This is remarkable for a rural community like ours. Everyone who attended was extremely professional, dedicated, courteous and compassionate. We could not ask for a more capable group of people to be standing by to respond when we need them. We just wish we had everyone’s name so we could thank them personally.

Joanne and David Lloyd

Point Roberts


The Editor:

I’m a Canadian citizen living on Salt Spring Island. I’m also a long time (since 1991) cottage owner in Point Roberts (my happy place!).

A couple of weeks back I posted on Next
-door my comment, in response to others, about the flagrant misuse of Canadian tax payers money when Health Canada deploys a single water taxi to pick up random test results for individuals living in the Gulf Islands where Fed Ex does not pick up and we don’t have Shoppers Drug Marts to drop off.

When I was finally able to cross the Boundary Bay border, after mandated closures, both my husband and I were given random tests crossing back into Canada. I was able to do the test at my son’s home in Kits and it was picked up by Fed Ex. But my husband was returning directly home to Salt Spring where he did the test and was told that FedEx doesn’t serve the Gulf Islands for pick-ups. He then phoned Health Canada for instructions and was told to take it to Duncan.... a ferry ride away! He refused. He was then told to drive the test results to the ferry dock at Fulford Harbor, a 20-minute drive from our home, where a water taxi, coming from Sidney on Vancouver Island, would meet him for pick up. He obediently did this and was greeted by the water taxi that picked up one sample – his! It was then that he realized that we, Canadian taxpayers, are paying for this!  

A similar scenario has happened since and more recently. This time my husband just didn’t do the test. After receiving repeated robo calls from Health Canada as reminders, he again called Health Canada to speak to a real person. This time, he was told by that real person to ignore the calls and not to bother doing the test. The reminder calls eventually stopped and we haven’t had any difficulties crossing the border since. Go figure!   

Almost three years on, shouldn’t we all know this by now?

Julie Kemble

Salt Spring Island


The Editor:

A few numbers for our perusal:

The longest distance that a car can travel in a relatively straight line in Point Roberts is 1.9 miles. By my calculations, at 30 mph, it will take three minutes and 48 seconds. At 35 mph, it will take precisely 33 seconds less. So, if you are winding your way from one corner of Point Roberts to an opposite corner – a maximum of four miles – and you are speeding at 35 mph, you will save yourself a whole minute and a few seconds.

Now, allow for the possibility that, on your way to your destination, a dog suddenly runs out and lunges, barking and growling at a child walking on the edge of the pavement safely nestled between his mother ahead of him and his father behind him, just as you pass the family on the left. The child, frightened and reactive, runs into your lane and you hit him with your vehicle. If you have appropriately slowed down in honor of safety and are doing 20 mph (or less) the child has a better than 95 percent chance of surviving that collision. At 30 mph, he has a 45 percent likelihood of dying and at 40 mph that child is 95 percent likely to die. And all so that you could save less than two minutes. To read the article that summarizes traffic safety studies go here: bit.ly/3SHzOsD

The roads in Point Roberts are narrow, and shoulders safe and wide enough for walking or biking are virtually non-existent. We are a community of walkers, bikers, cats, dogs, deer, squirrels, raccoons, horses and riders, parents with prams, and visitors who have come here to revel in our natural beauty. Please slow down. You might just save a life.

Annelle Norman

Point Roberts


The Editor:

Yes for Whatcom Children’s Initiative.

Our community has an enormous opportunity to invest in the futures of its 10,000 youngest children on November 8th by voting YES for the Whatcom County Children’s Initiative.

Your vote will provide much-needed childcare slots, quality early learning opportunities, and support for our most vulnerable families.

Research confirms that 90 percent of brain development occurs between the ages of zero and five. Early childhood education during those critical years leads to higher third grade reading rates, increased high school graduation rates, access to post-high school education and lower incarceration rates. Prevention is far less expensive than the cost of missing this vital developmental window of opportunity.

At present, only 46 percent of our students in Whatcom County arrive at kindergarten prepared to learn. This percentage drops to 25 percent for our children of color. These figures impact our schools profoundly.

Most parents need to work, and how children spend their time while their parents are at work impacts brain development. Whatcom County currently lacks 5,000 childcare slots. This means that 5,000 children are not accessing early learning opportunities, and many of their parents are unable to return to our work force.

Meanwhile, 88 percent of Whatcom County businesses report that their employees are missing work due to childcare issues.

The goals of the Initiative will be achieved through a modest property tax of approximately $7 per month for the median property owner. This will raise about $8.2 million per year. It includes rigorous, transparent local oversight and strong accountability measures.

Please vote “yes” for Proposition 5. Kids are our very best investment in our collective future.

To learn more go to: yeswhatcomkids.com

Leslie Farris

Retired school counselor & “Yes for

Whatcom Kids” Committee member



The Editor:

Warning: Contains sarcasm.

An opportunity for Point Roberts.

Point Roberts has been offered a big step up in internet service availability. If I understand correctly, the proposed system would offer WiFi access along two major roads and in the immediate vicinity of subscribers’ residences and businesses.

Latency would be dramatically reduced relative to what’s available in Point Roberts now, which would be relevant to those who play internet games and those who wish to make carefully timed sales and purchases on financial markets. Bandwidth would also increase, which would benefit those who watch several HD movies simultaneously on a single internet connection.

But what would really change things around here is that high-performance wireless internet would be available in the streets. Are you having trouble with people stealing goods from your unattended roadside retail stand? Mount an HD camera to a nearby tree or utility pole. The cost of the camera might be covered by the avoidance of the next two thefts.

But these may be relatively minor users of the new system. Let’s step back and look at a bigger picture. Imagine what could be accomplished if some organization (commercial or governmental) were to install a few cheap HD cameras on every utility pole along these streets and on those poles in the vicinity of subscribers not near major thoroughfares. Reduced privacy and anonymity might improve speed limit compliance. Maybe roadside litter rates would fall. Of course, that loss of privacy might affect the choice of topics discussed as we take a walk with a friend, even if that friend is on the other end of a cellphone conversation (many HD cameras have built-in microphones).

But we can see even more if we step back even farther. Look up Project NIMBUS (not the video game) using an internet search for an example. WiFi saturation could enable Point Roberts to become a testing and proving ground for artificial intelligence-based surveillance products!

Our small size with borders all around could provide a unique environment for the development, optimization and demonstration of algorithms to identify individuals and track and forecast their whereabouts, behavior and emotional state as they move around in public spaces. A small fraction of the employment generated by this activity would accrue to Point Roberts in the form of high-paying jobs. By helping develop this core enabling technology, we can contribute to the world’s present shift to totalitarianism.

I hope our library has several copies of George Orwell’s 1984 on hand to help us anticipate these exciting changes.

Halden Field

Point Roberts


The Editor:

I read about the Canadian heart attack victim in Point Roberts and I compliment the skilled people who saved him. Good work!

However, if what I’ve heard about the cost of medical treatment in Washington is true, he may have another heart attack when he gets the bill from the hospital, if he doesn’t have travel insurance.

I suspect that many people who go to Point Roberts don’t have travel insurance. Maybe there’s a psychological feeling that nothing will happen to them in little Point Roberts in the short time that they’ll be there to buy gas. Plus, the fact that the Point is geographically the bottom of B.C. so there’s a feeling that one is still in B.C. Well, this man was just inside the U.S. border. This should be a lesson to all. It’s too bad he wasn’t flown to Ladner.

Some years ago, a similar incident occurred on the Point and the heart attack victim was taken to Bellingham. I heard when he got his medical bill it was so high that he had to mortgage his house to pay it. However, I find that difficult to believe although I admit that I’ve heard some scary stories about U.S. medical costs. I carry TUGO, two-day travel insurance. For $83 CDN per year, I can go to the States as much as I please so long as I don’t stay more than 48 hours on each trip.

G.A. Scott

Richmond, B.C.


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