Tecumseh mayor seeks clarification of boater Nexus card 'cash grab'

The mayor of Tecumseh is calling for clarification about a suggestion from border officials that Canadian boaters and paddlers get Nexus cards and report if they cross international borders while out on the water.

Gary McNamara called the move a "cash grab" that could threaten the recreational relationship residents have with the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair.

"We're surrounded by water," he said. "This is one of our playgrounds, we've got sailing clubs, marinas … and we use those waterways as a form of recreation."

McNamara's concerns come in the wake of a meeting between RCMP and officials from both sides of the border where Windsor boaters were told there was a new interpretation of the "in transit exemption" resulting in a warning to carry identification and call officials when they returned to land.

The minimum fine for failing to report re-entry to Canada is $1,000, according to the CBSA.

Letter sent to minister of public safety

"How are you going to police all of this," said McNamara. "For somebody on a jet ski do you think they carry a cellphone and their Nexus card in their bathing suit?"

The mayor said he has written a letter to Canada's Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to ask for answers and a timeline for when enforcement will begin.

McNamara said it can be difficult to know when you've crossed the "invisible border" between the two countries — admitting he may have even done so himself while trawling for walleye.

"Now I have to get a Nexus card on top of my fishing license?" he asked. "It's becoming very restrictive and prescriptive and to me it's a money grab more than anything."