Crossing fee’s demise relieves businesses

Travel across the border has already been restricted

— A proposal to impose an entry fee at all U.S. border crossings appears to be headed nowhere.

Although some are skeptical the fee would have ever been initiated, its demise is welcome news for travelers, as well as businesses along the border.

Camaray Motel owner Clyde Andrews said he was not familiar with the specific details of the proposed fee. However, he believes such a fee would be one more aspect to deter Canadians from traveling to towns like Oroville for shopping, restaurants or weekend getaways.

“There’s no doubt that that would have hurt border towns all across the U.S. and Mexico,” Andrews said.

Andrews said he already noticed a negative shift in the economy of Oroville with the tightened security following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

“It’s not so easy for Canadians to pop down here as it once was,” he said. “That already put a little bit of a damper on the business climate around here.”

Bart Traubeck, owner of Alpine Brewing Company, 821 14th Ave., said his business would not be affected by a crossing fee as much as others because his beer garden is only open every other weekend. Most of his business’ income is derived from production brewing.

“We see more and more Canadians come across the border to our beer garden because our prices are much lower,” he said. “I think (a crossing fee) would have a very negative affect on the area businesses… I think it would have an influence on people coming down.”

Andrews said he understands the need for tightened security at the border, but sometimes the restrictions seem to go too far. He said at least once or twice a week, people stay at the Camaray Motel, 1320 Main St., because they were denied entry into Canada.

“Right now there are people that say ‘I don’t want to cross the border because it’s a hassle,’” he said.

He said a crossing fee, which could also increase wait time at the border, would be one more added hassle. For the people headed further south, paying a fee might not affect their decision. But if it’s a matter of paying a fee just to shop at Prince’s Department Store or eat at the restaurants in Oroville, travelers may reconsider.

The concept of a crossing fee was developed as an effort to raise more money for border protection and inspection.


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