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Tsiigehtchic votes to end liquor prohibition

Tsiigehtchic voted to end its liquor prohibition June 11.

Tsiigehtchic voted to end the liquor ban June 11.
NNSL file photo photo

Larry Dally, senior administrative officer for the Charter Community of Tsiigehtchic, said council approved a motion to hold a plebiscite on the community's liquor restrictions late last year.

Right now, Tsiigehtchic is one of seven dry communities in the territory.

The vote was held earlier this month and the community voted in favour of lifting the ban on liquor.

Voters had three options: to lift the ban, to create restrictions for liquor within the community, or remain a dry community.

Dally said restrictions could be something like anyone of legal age would be allowed to bring 60 ounces of liquor into the community over a seven-day period.

Twenty-eight votes were in favour of lifting the ban, 11 votes were in favour of creating restrictions, six votes were in favour of upholding the current prohibition and two ballots were spoiled, according to Dally.

He said he has informed the Northwest Territories Liquor Licensing Board of the vote. He said the next step is to hold another plebiscite within 90 days of June 11.

The second plebiscite will ask residents of Tsiigehtchic the question that won out – are you in favour of an unrestricted community?

If the majority votes yes, then Tsiigehtchic's liquor laws will follow regulations in the Northwest Territories Liquor Act.

The community's liquor regulations were last updated in 2007.

Dally said the change is arising because councillors felt the community wanted to reconsider Tsiigehtchic's liquor prohibition.

"[Councillors] had interactions with the community members, and community members felt it was time to look at the current designation, and hold a vote on whether it should be changed or not," he said. "I think it was a collection of people in the community lobbying council to say it's time that this was reviewed. It was a joint effort by the members of the community."

Charlene Blake, councillor with the Charter Community of Tsiigehtchic, said the community feels prohibition does not work.

"Bylaw didn't or couldn't enforce it and we don't have full-time RCMP here," said Blake. "In my opinion, people should be able to do as they please."