Liquor restrictions in Fort Simpson are set to be lifted on February 1, the village’s mayor has said.
The village voted to lift the restrictions in November. However, the change requires formalization from the NWT government, meaning the restrictions did not simply lift the day following that plebiscite.
Mayor of Fort Simpson Sean Whelly on Friday said a regulation had now been drafted that would lift restrictions from February 1.
The territorial government’s Department of Finance, which holds oversight of the relevant legislation, did not respond to confirm that date when approached by Cabin Radio.
Fort Simpson will still have restrictions in place, despite the plebiscite’s result, as the territory must abide by separate, pandemic-related restrictions on alcohol sales mandated for all NWT communities. The plebiscite applied only to a set of restrictions specific to Fort Simpson that had existed before the pandemic.
The pandemic rules state customers are limited to a maximum spend of $200 per day at any NWT liquor store, plus a limit of six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in any 24-hour period.
The plebiscite was held in response to a petition signed by more than 150 Fort Simpson residents asking for the village’s restrictions to be removed.
November’s ballot saw 240 of 730 eligible residents vote, with 175 in favour of the change. Fifty-eight were opposed while seven ballots were rejected.
The result was criticized by some residents who felt not enough public notice had been given beforehand.
Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek dismissed that complaint.
“Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek said in response.