Southbound drivers heading across the border into Blaine beside the Peace Arch.

U.S. shutdown not expected to cause border gridlock

Dispute in Congress stems from Obama health reform

Bellingham business leaders don’t expect a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that began Tuesday to cause major slowdowns for cross-border travellers, at least not immediately.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to approve a spending bill to keep government operating in a bid to dismantle the health insurance reforms led by President Obama.

The move has forced non-critical departments to largely shut down.

Bellingham Chamber of Commerce interim executive director Bill Gorman said the effect on Canadians heading south across the border will depend on how many – if any – U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff are deemed non-essential and cease work.

He expects regular traffic over the border won’t feel any difference, but travellers needing to get a visa or make other applications could face longer waits.

“If it goes on for a while it will have a ripple effect because things will back up,” he said.

Gorman was optimistic the political standoff could end quickly.

U.S. border offices are already running on reduced hours as a result of a previous budgetary dispute in Congress that began in March.

Gorman noted that hasn’t caused any major trouble at the borders or lost revenue for Bellingham retailers, adding business remains strong.

If anything, he said, the May 23 collapse of the Skagit River bridge on Interstate 5 actually provided a net lift for Whatcom Country merchants, because it made it more difficult for visitors from B.C. to drive further south for several weeks.

Just Posted

Structure fire closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

GUIDE: Rodeo, community events in Cloverdale this weekend

Bed races, chili cook-off, parade and the rodeo itself

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

Surrey to begin ‘public engagement process’ on policing transition next week

First in a series of public events set for May 23 at Cloverdale rec centre

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly threatening another youth with a knife in Cloverdale

This was Thursday at a park in the 17200-block of 61A Avenue, Sergeant Chad Greig told the Now-Leader

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Most Read