Moose Jaw not keen on locally set bar hours

The City of Moose Jaw is not interested in having the power to set bar hours.

The City of Moose Jaw is not interested in having the power to set bar hours.

Provincial officials have told municipalities the government is considering a change to liquor laws which would allow local governments to set hours that are either more or less restrictive than the existing rules.

Saskatchewan's current, province-wide rule is for alcohol service between 9:30 a.m. CST and 2 a.m. the next day.

Moose Jaw officials say they are not interested in setting local hours and are not keen on having different rules in place in different parts of the province.

Moose Jaw Mayor Deb Higgins said such a patchwork of rules does not make sense.

"We need to be consistent in these rules or it just opens up, I think, all kinds of headaches for municipalities," Higgins told CBC News.

Moose Jaw officials are also worried that if liquor laws were set locally, the result would be councillors being lobbied by various groups to either extend or limit hours.

The notion of locally-set bar hours arose last fall when the mayor of Prince Albert expressed concern about public intoxication in his city.

Mayor Greg Dionne said it might help if the province limited the hours at off-sale outlets that sell beer and wine.

Provincial authorities are gathering feedback on the idea of locally set bar hours and the topic is expected to be debated at the upcoming convention of urban municipalities — SUMA — set for Feb. 3 to 6 in Saskatoon.

With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger