Last call for liquor debate

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Licensed premises bylaw hears final pitches before deciding vote

Shane Gordon speaks at the town’s committee of the whole meeting Monday, May 8. He was against approving the licensed premises bylaw that would allow The Mad Trapper bar to open an extra 16 Sundays per year. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

The last voices from the public on whether to allow The Mad Trapper bar to open another 16 Sundays per year were all against the idea at the town’s committee of the whole meeting Monday, May 8.

“I think weekends should be a family time and a time set apart where parents can be with their children and their youth to encourage them and to see them become a healthy family,” said Dave Dekwant, one of three residents who spoke at the meeting.
Mad Trapper owner Rick Adams brought the request to council, after a similar but larger request failed to pass last year.

Currently, Adams is allowed to open his bar on 10 Sundays of the year. His request is to add 16 more Sundays from April 1 to September 30. If the bylaw passes, it would apply to all Class A liquor licenses in Inuvik.

Dekwant said he does not blame one person for alcohol issues in the community.
“It’s all of our responsibility collectively for the decisions that we make,” he said.

He also mentioned the effects it would have on Tuktoyaktuk.

Kate Snow said she voted for councillors who would work toward the benefit and betterment of Inuvik.

“Allowing this bylaw to be passed is fulfilling neither of these purposes,” she said.

“There are pros and cons. The weigh scale of economy, increased wages more opportunities (and) a variety for choices of activities are outweighed by my people’s health, success, happiness and sobriety.”

Shane Gordon said having the bar open more will not help issues in the community.

“We’re raising the next generation of probably future councillors who are going to be on the town council,” he said. “If they’re not stable, what’s that going to do to our community?”

Gordon also said council’s decisions would affect his vote in the next municipal election in 2018.
Mayor Jim McDonald, in his closing statements, said council has an obligation to respond to requests that come forth, and that’s why the issue was brought up a second time.

If it’s defeated, it can come back again, and if it passes, he’s sure it won’t be the end of the conversation, said McDonald.

“I personally don’t base my decisions on the next election, whether I’m going to win or not,” added the mayor, responding to Gordon’s comment.

“At this point I don’t even know if I’m going to run in the next election.”

He said the decision in this case is not so clear cut because of the emotional aspect.

Coun. Vince Sharpe, who has been vocally against the proposal the entire time, told council the public gave a resounding no at both public meetings.

“I see no good from opening a bar on Sunday and allowing more drinking to happen on the street,” said Sharpe, commenting on the number of people he saw on the street just that day.

“I don’t need to see that. I don’t want to see that.”

Senior Administrative Officer Grant Hood explained that if the motion is defeated, nothing happens. If it passes, there will be a 30-day waiting period for it to come in effect, and then it cannot be changed for four years.