A White Rock woman has concerns about the condition of her home in Birch Bay. Since the U.S.-Canada border closed to all but essential travel, she has not been able to check on the building or collect her property. (Google image)

White Rock residents concerned about state of Birch Bay vacation properties

Unable to cross the border, owners frustrated by inability to check on buildings collect belongings

A White Rock woman has concerns about the condition of a property she owns in Birch Bay, Wash., now that it has been several months since she’s been able to cross the U.S. border.

Paula Grant, who has owned the “weekend home” for the last 13 years with her husband, said they were visiting the property in March when Canadians were advised to return home due to COVID-19.

She said the couple quickly packed some of their belongings and left the U.S., not realizing that it would be months until they could return.

“Like, we still have food in our fridge down there. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. We’re hoping we haven’t had any leaks,” she said, adding that she also has a concern regarding insurance and the home sitting empty for four months.

While Grant said she would love to have a “staycation” in B.C., all of her camping equipment, including a trailer and kayaks, are stored in Birch Bay.

“We’re all feeling kind of anxious.”

Grant said she’s aware of four or five Canadians who live in her Birch Bay neighbourhood. She has been in contact with them and they all have similar concerns. Grant said she decided to try to cross the border by car in May, just to see what would happen.

When they got to the U.S. border, while wearing masks, she and her husband were sent to secondary inspection. The secondary inspection resulted in them being turned back to Canada.

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended until July 21

Even though they didn’t officially cross into the U.S. and didn’t leave the vehicle, government officials on the Canadian side of the border told them to isolate for 14 days and took down their contact information.

A few days later she received a call from the Government of Canada. The purpose of the call, she said, was to check if the pair was indeed isolating.

She explained her situation to the official, noting that they never actually entered the U.S. or left their car, and the official informed them that they no longer had to quarantine.

Now, every month, Grant anxiously waits for the scheduled end of the border closure, only for it to be extended another month.

The border is currently scheduled to reopen to non-essential travel on July 21.

Speaking about the issue during an event in Richmond earlier this month, B.C. premier John Horgan called for the border to remain closed until the COVID-19 virus is brought under control in the U.S.

Grant said she’s aware of Canadians successfully entering the U.S. by plane. But that isn’t a feasible option for a number of reasons, she said, including that once she lands, she wouldn’t have a vehicle to transport her trailer back to Canada.

“I don’t want to fly into Seattle airport. I just want to go to Birch Bay, 10 minutes away,” she said, adding that she can almost see her weekend home from White Rock.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about international travel during a COVID-19 press conference Monday afternoon.

“A number of our new cases are people who have either travelled or have been in contact with somebody who just came back from the U.S.,” Henry said.

“It is a worry – it’s very much a concern. We know that there’s quite a bit of travel across the border but nothing like we usually see.”

Henry said she cannot see international travel between the U.S. and Canada resuming this summer, given how widespread COVID-19 infections are in the U.S.

However, she said she encourages families to take the opportunity to reunite across the border.

“But any further loosening of the restrictions needs to be accompanied by ensuring that people know the restrictions that they need to follow once they’re here, including self-isolation for that incubation period,” Henry said.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey councillors wary of ‘streamlining’ environmental development permits process

Mayor Doug McCallum notes B.C. government only agency that can issue environment permit

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help Surrey boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

City buys century-old East Delta church

St. Stephen’s Church to be renovated and restored, used as community services and programming space

COVID-19 exposure at Surrey rave prompts warning from Fraser Health

Party was held at Royal Beauty Supply in Whalley

Man charged with manslaughter in Surrey woman’s death

Duncan Ryan McCabe, 47, is charged with manslaughter in June 2, 2020 death of Karlee May Dixon, 40, of Surrey

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic hihg-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Most Read