“It was the quietest two weeks,” said one resident of Kuujjuaq after the mayor banned alcohol sales in September.
Last month, Mayor Johnny Adams became so alarmed by a series of alcohol-related deaths that he asked the 250-seat Ikkaqivvik Bar to close and the co-op to stop selling beer.
The municipal council also passed a bylaw limiting individual orders for alcohol flown up from the South to four cases of beer a month and 2 litres of liquor or 4 litres of wine.
These actions immediately cut down violence, said Constable Charles Bouliane of the Kativik Regional Police. “During those two weeks of the ban, there was almost no crime.”
But the moves were unpopular with residents, who said the people should have been consulted by referendum. As one resident put it, “The money of the bar helps offset the expenses of the hotel. Jobs are there, too, and the hotel board contributes in a big way to local activities like the youth camp.”
Thousands of dollars from recycling beer cans help pay for recreational activities.
In the referendum, 70 per cent voted to re-open the local bar. But 84 per cent also voted to ban beer sales at the co-op store, the other main source of alcohol in town. Mayor Adams said the outcome amounts to a “partial ban.”
Source: The Montreal Gazette