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NWT ponders store

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Tuktoyaktuk (Oct 01/01) - A decision is expected within 30 days on whether a liquor store will open in Tuktoyaktuk.

"I'm still reviewing it," said Ron Courtoreille, general manager of the NWT Liquor Commission in Hay River.

He said an evaluation process is in place and nothing will be decided until that's completed, within a month.

The issue of whether the community of 1,000 should have a liquor store is a long-standing topic of debate among residents, who now get their liquor from bootleggers.

Following two community votes and a 1999 petition, the village council decided Aug. 15 that the decision should be made by the territorial government. The latest vote, narrowly in favour of a liquor store, took place two days before council's decision.

Courtoreille is busy evaluating two other liquor store proposals in addition to the Tuktoyaktuk decision: renewal of Fort Smith's liquor store and opening a second liquor outlet for Yellowknife.

If he accepts the proposal being considered for Yellowknife, the setup will be a little different in that a business will own the booze and re-sell it to consumers. Under the current system, the government owns the inventory while contracting out liquor outlet space and store management.

If a liquor store opens in Tuk, Courtoreille said, it will be run the traditional way, with the government continuing to own the inventory.

The final decision rests with Finance Minister Joe Handley, the minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Liquor Commission.