Prince Albert is home to three drive-thru liquor establishments, the most of any community in Saskatchewan, but that number won't be growing any time soon.
In a motion brought forward Monday night, city council voted to ban any new drive-thru liquor stores in the city. Council also outlawed the transfer of the three licensed drive-thru locations. Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski introduced the motion, saying he hoped to use it as a way to shutter drive-thrus and broaden the conversation about liquor in the community.
“We have seen this fad of drive-thru liquor stores proliferate in our city, and we have seen the numbers and what that means,” he said.
Others around the table wanted a comprehensive review of the city’s alcohol policies and applauded recent moves undertaken by communities such as La Ronge. In mid-January, the northern community’s council supported proposals to restrict alcohol sales on Sundays, statutory holidays, month-end paydays and Canada Child Benefit payment days. The Lac La Ronge Region Community Alcohol Management Plan also moved towards banning off-sale liquor sales after 11 p.m., banning alcohol sales at bars or community events after 1 a.m., and prohibiting liquor retailers from announcing last call.
Mayor Greg Dionne was in favour of the move. Dionne said a motion to approve a committee to help northern communities with these alcohol restrictions and bootlegging will come forward at the next council meeting. The mayor expressed an interest to engage in partnerships with organizations like New North, and said he will raise the issue at the upcoming Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) convention in March.
The mayor also hinted about a new establishment opening in Cornerstone and how its owners were influential in bringing new laws into B.C. where liquor outlets close at 11 p.m. He said the owners also have a great program to prevent bootlegging, and would like that adopted in the province.
“One thing I like, too, is retail stores that want to consider closing four or five days a year,” Dionne said. “The way the law is today, you can be open 365 days a year.”
Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky was in support, though he said part of the responsibility rests with the provincial government.
“A good chunk of our police budget is picking up those intoxicated people,” he said. “If we can reduce that, it is going to reduce the tax burden on our citizens and be a healthier community.”
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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