Niagara MP wants Feds to reopen two border check points for boaters

smugglers cove

The MP for Niagara Falls is calling on the federal government to make life easier for boaters who want to cross into American waters.

Tony Baldinelli is calling for border check points at Smugglers’ Cove Boat Club in Niagara-On-The-Lake, and the Greater Niagara Boat Club in Chippawa to reopen, after they were closed during the pandemic.

"As you know, all boaters – either Canadians returning to Canada from the U.S. or Americans leaving the U.S. to come into Canada, must register at a small vessel port of entry operated by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, my riding had three such areas designated as those sites and operated by the CBSA."

He says the next nearest CBSA marine site for the lower Niagara River is located at Lock I of Port Weller in St. Catharines, while Miller’s Creek in Fort Erie, is the only CBSA site servicing the entire upper Niagara River.

"While this situation may have been somewhat practical for most of the past two years with our international Canada-US border being completely shut down to non-essential travel, as our countries reopen this year, these prolonged closures are now causing many issues for boaters – including serious safety issues - and unnecessary inconveniences that cost boaters their time and money."

He says boaters could run out of fuel and be left stranded on the upper river in a strong current that flows quickly towards Niagara Falls.

The MP says backlogs have been reported at the Milller’s Creek reporting site, which does not have a lot of space for boats to dock and wait for their registration.

"This year, Niagara needs a real chance at tourism recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and every measure that can help achieve this goal – including reopening these two CBSA marine reporting sites in Niagara-On-The-Lake and Chippawa – will help."