Lynn Whitehouse recently retired from her 30 year stint as executive director of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce but her legacy lives on in a new and modern Aldergrove-Lynden corner crossing.
Nine years ago she spearheaded a major push to expand the services at the Aldergrove border after hearing that the federal government was considering downsizing it and closing the commercial aspect of the crossing.
The crossing was already the second busiest in B.C. for commercial traffic, after the Pacific crossing, and closure or downsizing made no sense to the pragmatic Whitehouse.
She enlisted the support of Aldergrove-Langley MP Mark Warawa, local governments including Whatcom County in Washington, and chambers of commerce in the region, and together they pushed back.
“Nine years ago, the Aldergrove Port of Entry could have lost its commercial capability. Thankfully, the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce took a leadership role by bringing all levels of government around the table and advocating for an expanded border crossing,” said Warawa.
“The excellent work of the chamber was spearheaded by Lynn Whitehouse, who diligently worked on the file for the past nine years.”
“It is a vital link in our transportation infrastructure, and the projections for growth are good,” said Whitehouse, May 25.
“It is with a huge sense of pride (that the federal government reconsidered)… when I think of what we nearly lost… but we became a thorn in their side thanks to a big support network.”
It paid off when the expanded services at the new $17.7 million port of entry were announced two years ago and it was completed a few months ago. It remains the second busiest commercial port of entry in B.C. and the seventh biggest in Canada.
The federal government’s April 14, 2014 announcement included an additional Primary Inspection Lane, a larger traveller processing facility, and a commercial examination warehouse, two new commercial lanes, five new traveller lanes with the ability to expand to eight in the future. Those upgrades are now complete.
In a small ceremony next to the new Aldergrove crossing on May 25, MPs Warawa and Steven Blaney presented Whitehouse with a certificate of thanks for her work on the project.
Langley Township councillors Bob Long, David Davis and Blair Whitmarsh, along with Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce president Scott Johnston, were present to add their thanks and compliments to Whitehouse.
“Lynn represented the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce on a regional Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel and presented them with the possibility of the closure. Representatives of all lower mainland Chambers expressed concern with this possibility and agreed that significant investment is required to meet existing demand,” Johnston said.
“We were very pleased when the federal government announced the $17.7 million for an upgraded Aldergrove border crossing and the successful completion of this vital project.”
“I hereby name this the Lynn Whitehouse port of entry,” added Johnston, in partial jest.