Overnight Border Closure Will Negatively Impact Tourism and Emergency Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015

Juneau – The Canadian Border Services Agency plans to close the border between Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, B.C. between midnight and 8 a.m. beginning April 1.  CBSA cites cost as a main reason for the planned border closure. Currently, the border crossing is staffed 24 hours a day to allow residents and visitors to use the only road entry point into Hyder.  District 36 Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) plans to spend the next several days meeting with Hyder residents and Canadian officials in an effort to find a solution to the problem.

“The only medical center for the two communities is in Stewart and the road to Stewart is the disaster evacuation route for Hyder,” said Rep. Ortiz.  “I’m concerned that closing the border, and thus closing the road, will make it more difficult for area residents to get the care and services they need in an emergency.”

The annual tourist season is just a few weeks away and many residents in Hyder believe the closure of the border in the overnight hours could have a dramatic impact on tourism.   Additional concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact on local businesses that serve both communities.

“Closing the border in the overnight and early morning hours will basically close off the only road access to Hyder just to save some money,” said Rep. Ortiz.  “Hyder and Stewart are so close to each other that they share infrastructure and services despite the fact that they are part of two different countries. I want to learn more about this issue and see if I can help, in any way, to find a solution.”

Rep. Ortiz will be in Hyder from Thursday through Sunday.  He plans to meet with the Mayor of the District of Stewart and the President of the Hyder Community Association.  Rep Ortiz will also participate in a townhall meeting in Hyder.

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