Holman to vote on liquor rationing
Community's students also get vote

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 07/98) - While communities voting on liquor regulations is nothing new in the North, the hamlet of Holman is presenting a different twist on an old tale when residents go to the polls Dec. 14.

While adult residents will, ultimately, decide whether their community adopts rationing, viewed by many as a positive mechanism to curb alcohol related problems, the moral weight of the community's youth will also be involved.

Hamlet Mayor Gary Bristow says students at Helen Kavlak school will also be registering their feelings about the touchy topic.

"The same question is going to the kids in the school," he says. "They will do their own vote and that information will be made public."

"They're the ones affected (by the abuse of alcohol by adults)."

Though alcohol is not sold in Holman, residents can order unlimited quantities through the liquor store in Yellowknife.

Bristow says up to 90 per cent of crimes in the community are directly related to the misuse of booze. Rationing is one method some in Holman believe will lower that statistic, he added.

In the past, Holman had a form of control in place. Residents had to place their orders through a local alcohol committee and monthly supplies would arrive.

This led to case of binge drinking, Bristow says, and was dropped.

In recent months, the hamlet has been working on preparing a community wellness plan and questions surrounding alcohol consumption have been raised. With this in mind, 20 residents signed a petition to John Todd, minister responsible for the NWT Liquor Commission, this year, asking that a plebescite be held.

Todd approved the request.

Fort Simpson and Norman Wells have rationing in place with success or failure of the restrictions a constant subject of local debate.

Approximately 200 Holman residents -- besides the children -- are eligible to vote.