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Sunday liquor sales greenlit
Council splits vote on bylaw allowing Sunday bar openings, still could be voted down in future meetings

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, February 2, 2017

After much debate, council narrowly approved the first reading of a bylaw allowing Sunday bar openings last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Mayor Jim McDonald, middle, said no matter how council voted on the Sunday bar openings debate, the social problems with alcohol are still going to exist. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

Couns. Natasha Kulikowski, Clarence Wood, Kurt Wainman, Steve Baryluk and Darrell Christie all voted in favour, while Couns. Vince Sharpe, Joe Lavoie and Alana Mero opposed

Rick Adams of The Mad Trapper had requested an additional 16 Sunday bar opening days during summer, on top of the 10 he is allowed now.

"I don't see how we can state that we support ways to help local economy while preventing a small business owner from opportunities for creating more business for himself," said Coun. Kulikowski at the meeting on Jan. 25.

She referenced the town's strategic plan, which stated its goal to diversify and strengthen Inuvik's economy.

Coun. Sharpe, though, strongly opposed that idea.

"I'm not willing to compromise my values or the community's values on the altar of greed by one person," he said.

The economics of the community are bad for everyone, he continued.

"When the road to Tuk closes ... we're going to have unemployed people everywhere and the economics of this community are going to get just abysmal. He's (Adams) suffering, we're all suffering in business right now . I don't see that as a reason to compromise the values of this community for one person."

Sharpe referenced the RCMP's regular updates to council and how many problems are caused by alcohol.

"We have a duty to protect this community," said Sharpe.

"Our duty is not to go out and say we sanction this sort of thing. What message are we sending to the children when we sanction that?

"I just don't believe that we should be contributing to the alcoholism that already exists in this community."

Deputy Mayor Baryluk said it was healthy the council was split on the issue, because the community is too.

"People can get in their car and drive drunk any day of the week," he said. "It's not just Sundays."

Coun. Wood said he hoped the passion surrounding this subject could be redirected to lobbying for an addiction treatment centre in the area.

The bylaw, it was noted, would apply to any Class A liquor license in town, not just the Mad Trapper, and could not be changed for four years if enacted, unless all holders of the license agreed.

Town council amended the bylaw to stipulate that business hours on Sunday should be limited from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

However, it was not clear at the meeting how that amendment affected the 10 Sunday openings Class A license holders are already entitled to.

There will be second and third readings plus a review by the GNWT before any changes become concrete. The bylaw could still be voted down in future readings.

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