Tuktoyaktuk tries out temporary alcohol ban
The mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., says he hopes a one-week trial ban on drinking or importing alcohol in the community will lead to permanent restrictions in the future.
In effect from Tuesday until April 21, the temporary ban coincides with this weekend's Beluga Jamboree, a spring festival that brings hundreds of visitors to the Arctic hamlet of 870 every year.
The temporary ban comes amid a community debate on holding a plebiscite on whether to restrict alcohol. Gruben said the ban will give people a taste of life in a dry community.
"We all decided that enough is enough. People say we're not doing enough. We're trying our damnedest to keep this under control," Mayor Mervin Gruben told CBC News.
"People say we're not doing enough on alcohol. We're definitely doing it; we're just going by the books. It's taking a little bit of time. You know, maybe we're going to ban it altogether. It's just what the people want."
RCMP will be checking vehicles on the ice road leading to Tuktoyaktuk for the duration of the ban. Const. Scott Carr said people who are caught bringing in alcohol can expect fines of up to $2,000 or 30 days in jail.
Gruben said the hamlet council's decision to impose a ban shows that it's serious about addressing the problem of bootlegging in the community. He said he hopes to hold a plebiscite on permanent liquor restrictions later this year.
"We're just tired of seeing all these cases and cases of the same kind of booze coming off the plane. You know what it's coming in for," he said.