JUNEAU – Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously for a resolution urging the Canadian government to keep the border open 24 hours a day between Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, British Columbia. House Joint Resolution 22 is sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). Earlier this month the Canadian Border Services Agency implemented a closure of the border crossing from midnight to 8 am.
“The Canadian government made the decision to close the only border crossing between Hyder and Stewart in an effort to save money,” said Rep. Ortiz. “That may be a worthy goal but what they have done in reality is negatively impact commerce, tourism and emergency services.”
Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, British Columbia are only separated by a few miles and the two communities share basic infrastructure. For instance, routine and emergency medical care for Hyder is taken care of through the medical center in Stewart. However, that medical center is not readily accessible when the border crossing is closed. Additionally, the road to Stewart is the only disaster evacuation route for Hyder.
“Closing a border in the middle of the night may seem like a small thing but the road between these two communities is a lifeline and I don’t believe it wise to jeopardize the local economy and public safety just to save a few dollars,” said Rep. Ortiz.
HJR 22 will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.