Town council has voted unanimously to scrap a proposed bylaw that would reduce the hours of operation for local liquor stores and off sales at local drinking establishments.
Mayor Brian Schulz tabled the motion to take the bylaw off any future agendas for council, and all councillors voted in favour of the action. It was RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Bob Dodds and community peace officer Dave Horner who brought forward the suggestion to councillors on Dec. 13. They wanted liquor stores to close at 10 p.m., and off sales prohibited after 10 p.m.
It was an idea that met with a lot of controversy.
“When this was brought forward to council, I took a look at it, and to me it was not somethng we need,” Schulz said. “Our businesses are very responsible, and to my knowledge, none of them even go as late as the law allows. We don’t need more rules that are different than government regulations to govern our business. The province of Alberta has deemed what is reasonable for these businesses to operate, and I don’t see where more stipulations would have an advantage.”
“That’s what public consultation is all about,” Sgt. Dodds said. “It was an idea that had some merit, but if the community doesn’t want it, then that’s the way it will be.
“(The proposed bylaw) was something that may, or may not, have had a significant effect on what we deal with, and it was worth a try.”
The reason such changes were brought up was because of problems with people consuming alcohol after the bar closes either in public or at home, which turns into a party and loud noise, Dodds said.
“We’re not here to dictate to people how to run a town,” he said.
“We’re here to protect the people and to work with them. This obviously struck a nerve with some people, and there are two sides to every story.
“Not having the bylaw isn’t going to make our job any more difficult, and it wouldn’t make it significantly easier if the bylaw had been passed, because it really isn’t a big problem here in Barr-head.”
Dodds said he expected opposition from local vendors, and following the first consultation, he and Horner met with someone from one of the local liquor stores, and they had a long conversation.
“He made some valid points, and so did we,” Dodds said.
“I really appreciated him coming to us and saying ‘here’s why this won’t work.’”
The Leader posed the question in December to the public on its website, www.barrheadleader.com, “Are you in favour of Barrhead town council enacting a new bylaw, which would restrict liquor store hours of operation and off sales at local drinking establishments?”
A total of 127 people voted in the poll, with 71.7 per cent voting against the proposed bylaw, and 28.3 per cent voting in favour of it.