The city will look to business owners and those in the industry for feedback as administration takes another look at restricting hours for outlets that sell alcohol in Prince Albert.
Ward 3 City Coun. Evert Botha made a motion at a council meeting this week to have administration and the city solicitor look into both the hours of operation and location of outlets in the city. The motion asked administration to look at options limiting operating hours to Monday to Saturday between 9 a.m. and midnight only, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.
After a discussion on the issue, the motion was revised to look at off-sale permits within the city, with the provision that the city talk to those in the business to get their thoughts on the matter.
“I think our police, our men and women in uniform, can probably be deployed on other calls, rather than dealing with intoxication or disturbances,” Botha told paNOW. “This is from looking at many of the reports over the years, is that no good happens between midnight on a Friday and sunrise on a Monday when it comes to liquor retailing.”
Botha is also requesting information about keeping liquor outlets closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday. Prince Albert already has several stand-alone liquor stores plus a number of off-sale locations, he added.
‘Ultimately, we need to look at what’s good for the community, and what’s good for the community as a whole is to see how we can reduce the number of calls that we have related to intoxicated persons,” Botha added. “We’re talking about doing things smarter.”
Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody said he wouldn’t support the review of hours unless those affected by the limits were consulted. The issue could affect jobs in the community, he said.
“We should be asking what the public wants, what the industry wants,” Cody said.
Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski said the city is at a disadvantage when it comes to issues of alcohol abuse because the province has not allocated a full-time liquor inspector to monitor establishments in Prince Albert. Having more officers to respond to disturbances involving alcohol may not eradicate addiction in the community, but Zurakowski said the issue is worth another look.
“The use of alcohol is an issue for everyone in this city,” Zurakowski said. “And we need to make prudent decisions because it is costing us money.”
Alcohol abuse has been a much-debated topic in Prince Albert. Councillors have also been grappling with the issue in La Ronge and a new bylaw is set to come into effect in the New Year that limits retail sales.
Prince Albert City Council asked for the report from administration to be ready in time for the first council meeting in January.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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