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    Dry wedding for Kugluktuk couple

    Carolyn Sloan
    Northern News Services
    Published Monday, August 25, 2008

    KUGLUKTUK/COPPERMINE - Victoria Westwood may be breaking out the champagne for family and friends, but she's not exactly celebrating.

    It's a little late for that, she said, when the liquor she ordered for her wedding in Kugluktuk on Aug. 14 arrived three days after the big day.

    After filling out the necessary paperwork, the bride-to-be expected the local alcohol education committee to endorse her application for a liquor permit at the Monday night meeting the week before the wedding. She was disappointed when they decided to postpone approval until the following meeting.

    "They said, "If we do it next week, she'll still have time to get it (the liquor order) before the wedding,'" said Westwood, noting this was not the case.

    While her permit was granted, her liquor order did not make it in by plane in time for the event.

    Westwood said she didn't receive any explanation as to why the committee would postpone their approval to the week of the wedding.

    "I'm just really ticked off," said the newlywed. "I was really hoping it would be in for everybody to have so they could enjoy it."

    Gary Kennedy, chair of the alcohol education committee in Kugluktuk that was established in October of last year, said he understands Westwood's frustration, but sees the situation as an opportunity to reiterate the importance of a policy change that was adopted by the committee several months ago.

    "This has probably been one of the biggest issues communication-wise that the alcohol education committee has had," he said. "We asked that applications be brought in by Friday of the previous week so that the RCMP officers have time to review those applications...to do a local records check."

    The trouble with allowing people to submit applications at the last minute, he adds, is it ties up police time. This means applicants like Westwood, who pass in their applications on Monday, must now wait another week.

    "Everybody would rush to get their applications in on Monday and the RCMP would be spending their whole Monday doing local record checks," said Kennedy. "So we changed it."

    Despite some frustrations surrounding the policy change, the chair has confidence in the alcohol education committee and a strong belief in its benefit to the community.

    "Why it's important for here is because the crime rates were going through the roof (and) there were a bunch of suicides that were alcohol-related with our youth," said Kennedy. "So the community stood together and had a plebiscite, put this in place."

    "I think it's important for the committee to communicate and let everyone know what's going on so that in three years time, people see a lot of positive changes and that they'll vote for it again."