December 23, 2018 7:38 pm
Updated: December 23, 2018 8:01 pm

Piney residents relieved after CBSA says no to border changes

The CBSA will not make changes to hours at several Southeastern Manitoba border crossings.

Jordan Pearn/Global News

It’s an early Christmas gift for residents in the RM of Piney.

After announcing changes to the hours at several southeastern Manitoba border crossings in November and then putting them on hold, the Canada Border Services Agency now tells Global News there will be no changes to those Canadian Port of Entry crossings.

“The hours of operation at South Junction, Piney, Tolstoi and Snowflake are not changing at this time, and will remain as they were,” said Lisa White of the CBSA.

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READ MORE: Manitoba residents voice concern over decrease in border crossing hours

In early November, the CBSA said it was scaling back hours after reviewing the volume at each port.

Some of the changes included pushing back the closing time at the Piney POE from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. and closing the South Junction crossing into Canada at 8 p.m. instead of midnight.

But residents in the area frequently head to Roseau, Minn., for grocery shopping, entertainment and health care, as Roseau is home to the nearest hospital.

After the community came together to voice their displeasure at two information sessions, the CBSA announced they were putting the changes on hold just days before they were going into effect “pending further review of its operational requirements and input received during public consultations.”

READ MORE: Border crossing cutbacks put on hold

And now the decision to do away with the change entirely has residents of the area pleased.

“It’s definitely a small victory for the residents of Piney and the individuals across the line,” said RM of Piney deputy reeve Melanie Parent.

“So we’re very happy with the results.”

RM of Piney deputy reeve Melanie Parent.

WATCH: Border crossings set to change hours

Brandon and Joe Bremault use the South Junction border crossing to go to work in Roseau, Minnesota.

The changes would have meant that the Bremaults’ usual 20-minute drive home would instead take them on a detour to the nearest border crossing, adding another 45 minutes to their trip.

Brandon and Joe Bremault.

Bremault said he only found out about the CBSA’s latest decision when Global News contacted him. The lack of communication by the CBSA, he added, frustrates him.

“We were in the dark since day one,” Bremault said. “Once in the dark, always in the dark.”

“To feel ignored like we don’t matter and to make the changes, it feels behind your back.”

He worries that the CBSA may try to make these changes again down the road.

“There’s always the threat that it could come back,” he said. “Just because we changed it now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way.”

But for now, the Bremaults and the rest of the area can celebrate a Christmas that has been made a little more merrier.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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