A vote on removing liquor restrictions in the village of Fort Simpson will take place on November 12, the NWT government’s Department of Finance has confirmed.
An advanced polling day will also be held on November 5. The plebiscite comes after pressure from village councillors and residents for the territory to hold such a vote.
A petition was handed to the village council late last year with more than 150 signatures requesting action be taken.
The vote will occur at the community hall in the village recreation centre, where physical distancing protocols will be in effect.
All community members entering the polling station are required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer. A separate entrance and exit have been designated in order to control the number of people in the building.
Currently, Fort Simpson residents have a daily purchasing limit of:
- three 375-ml containers of spirits and 12 containers of beer; or
- three 375-ml containers of spirits and two bottles of wine; or
- two bottles of wine (maximum two litres) and 12 containers of beer; or
- one bottle of wine and 24 containers of beer.
If residents vote to end those limits, the community would still need to abide by this year’s pandemic-related territory-wide restrictions for as long as they remain in place. Those restrictions limit customers to a maximum spend of $200 per day at any NWT liquor store and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.
Returning officer appointed
The village had to overcome confusion earlier this summer about how a returning officer would be appointed.
This has since been settled. Tammie Cazon has been hired as the returning officer to oversee the vote and has already started some of her work.
Cazon’s role will be to oversee the election by giving notice to the public, ensuring eligible voters are on the list to vote, supervising other staff and the voting station, ensuring proper and peaceful conduct of the election, and supervise the counting of ballots.
Cazon has held similar roles during council elections for the village and Łı́ı́dlı̨́ı̨́ Kų́ę́ First Nation.