Point Roberts Registered Voter's Assocation
The purpose for which this Corporation is organized is to encourage and coordinate the efforts and activities of the residents of Point Roberts, interested in the orderly and desirable development of the community.
This Corporation shall be particularly concerned with local community government, adequacy of public services including by not limited to fire, water, parks and recreation, law enforcement, sewage, garbage, telephone and power; resolution of problems peculiar to Canadian citizens residing at Point Roberts; and United States citizens residing at Point Roberts; and promotion of reciprocal agreements between the United States and Canada for the benefit of Point Roberts.
Priority Issues of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association (PRTA) and the Point Roberts Registered Voters Association (PRRVA) February, 2020
As preamble, we seek a planning process that allows all Point Roberts stakeholders to work together to update the overall vision of commercial and residential development, environment protection, and recreational opportunities in Point Roberts. This logically would lead to a revised Sub-area Plan, possible re-zoning measures, and finally any corresponding code modifications (WCC 20.72). Our list of priority concerns includes the following (with #1 and #2 as our highest priorities): 1. Revenue Stream for Point Roberts improvements: Capturing a revenue stream for Point Roberts, under indirect control of PRCAC (similar to its advisory role in recommending or endorsing any use of TBD funds) from Point Roberts destination-based local sales tax revenue currently accruing to the County. 2. Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department issues: Reversing the gradual loss of various facilities and amenities at Lighthouse Marine Park (and other County Parks in Point Roberts), in particular the Lighthouse Park dock, small boat launch, and deck. The previous Administration’s policy of discouraging any expansion of facilities, including a proper lighthouse at Lighthouse Park (to be privately and/or grant funded) was extremely disappointing and damaging to the Point’s tourism potential. 3. PRCAC representation: To achieve greater legitimacy and representativeness, we seek to eliminate organizational appointments and make all members at-large, to be selected by the community in some manner, e.g., 5 elected and 2 appointed (perhaps by the elected members to represent Canadian part-time residents and others not qualified to vote in Point Roberts (NB: approximately 75% of property in Point Roberts is owned by Canadians). If official election of PRCAC members is not feasible, PRCAC itself could hold straw elections to nominate candidates for appointment to PRCAC. 4. Transportation improvements: PRCAC is tasked with making recommendations on all proposed expenditures of PRTBD funds. We seek an audit of past expenditures and clarification of how to more efficiently tap those funds, how interest earned on the balance of funds is allocated, and how costs of County staff management of local contracts are charged to PRTBD. 5. Relationship with District 5 Member of Council: Proposing Council Member Ben Elenbaas quarterly attend PRCAC meetings in order to better represent Point Roberts and assure good lines of communication.
The origin of PRRVA, as remembered by Ruby White …
In the late 60s, Whatcom County appointed its first County Planner, Harry Fulton, a recent graduate of UBC. He expressed interest in Point Roberts and encouraged us to form a committee, composed of both full and part time residents to represent our community. We formed the Point Roberts Community Association (PRCA).
Soon after, we began to experience problems at the Canadian border crossings while attempting to bring our purchases home from Bellingham and Blaine. At that time, we were limited to a forty dollar day limit on purchases from Canada and had no full service grocery store or bank. Canadian officials enforced a policy requiring us to put our purchases into plastic garbage bags and pay to have a seal put on them. At other times they demanded we have our vehicle trunks sealed.
Senator Jackson and Mr. Fulton advised us that the International Joint Commission (IJC) could resolve our problems. Fulton advised our PRCA to hold meetings and list existing problems. He said he would need the participation and sponsorship of our group to take the matter to the State Legislature to request the IJC be brought in.
We were in the midst of the meeting, continuing to discuss what issues concerned us, when a former local resident came in from Bellingham and told us the matter had already been taken to the legislature under the sponsorship of the Grange, and had been approved in Olympia. Our naive group was bewildered, but assured by Planner Fulton that this was a positive action.
A series of studies were immediately begun, headed by Dr. Manfred Vernon of Western Washington University. About the same time, the Interior Department published a booklet titled "Islands of America”. When the Vernon report came out it stated that "the problems of Point Roberts are occasioned by the fact there is a resident population. The gradual reduction and elimination of that population will, in and of itself, resolve the problems."
Meanwhile, Point Roberts should become the headquarters for an International Park that would include some of the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Interestingly enough, the same proposal was included in "Islands of America", and some passages were identical with the study report.
The local Point Roberts residents abandoned their daily activities to attempt to fight off this proposal. The PRCA appealed to our Whatcom County commissioners. They supported us but then told us they could not really act on behalf of an organization that was not composed of US citizens who permanently resided in the State.
It was in a mad scramble that the Point Roberts Registered Voters’ Association (PRRVA) was formed as a non-profit corporation on April 9th, 197. With the help of residents of other islands, and the strong support of Senator Warren Magnuson, after almost three desperate years, the IJC went away.
- Allison Calder President (PRCAC Rep)
- Steve O’Neil Vice President
- Tessa Pinckston Secretary
- Ken Calder Treasurer
- Doug Shier
- Kelly Bravener
- Mark Robbins
- Matteus Olmedo
- Rick Hulsey