With Point Roberts being located in the State of Washington, obviously we don’t have to deal with the Harmonized Sales Tax that will be affecting British Columbia courses that aren’t that far away from us.
However, we all have our own unique situations to deal with and one of the challenges at Point Roberts is that we have to hire American workers before we can hire Canadians. The problem is that there are very few U.S. people here.
Our residency is about 1,000 in the winter and 4,000 in the summer, but those extra 3,000 people are Canadians coming down for their cottages. Our staffing concerns are a bit different than a lot of other places.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been having meetings with the citizenship and immigration services people to allow us to get better access to Canadian workers at a time when it’s getting harder and harder, not only for the golf course, but other businesses as well.
The pool of American workers to draw from is so small. In the past, we’ve always been able to hire Canadians here after we proved we had been looking for American workers, but now the Department of Homeland Security is changing the way we do it and it’s becoming a lot more difficult.
We used to just go up to the border, fill out some paperwork and we would have an answer in two or three days. Now, it’s going to have to go through the State of Washington, the Department of Homeland Security in California and all the way through Nebraska, where is head office is located.
It will now take up to a month for what used to take us two or three days, so it’s getting more challenging. There happens to be a border right there and if you take that border away, we’ve got as big a pool to draw from as say, the Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen, B.C., which is about eight minutes from here.
Beach Grove has got all of the Lower Mainland to draw from and we don’t. I understand why the U.S. authorities are doing it, but every golf course has its own unique challenges. Ours just happen to be staff-related challenges, which can lead to service-related problems.