Tsiigehtchic votes to lift liquor restrictions, again

After a 2018 vote that was not made official, voters in Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., have finally voted to lift alcohol restrictions in their community in a plebiscite Monday.

Community voted in 2018 to lift restrictions, but vote was not official plebiscite

Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., has voted to lift restrictions on alcohol in the community. (Submitted by Mary Beckett)

It took two attempts, but Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., is set to lose its alcohol restrictions.

The community held a plebiscite on Monday, giving residents three options: lift its current ban on alcohol entirely, create conditional liquor regulations, or remain a dry community.

According to returning officer Brian Smith, 38 people voted in the plebiscite, with 58 per cent of voters choosing to lift the restrictions entirely. The other two options each received 21 per cent of the vote.

Smith said there were 87 eligible voters in the community, meaning turnout for the plebiscite was 43.6 per cent.

Alcohol is currently prohibited in the small Mackenzie Delta community. Community members can face fines or jail time for being caught in possession or consuming alcohol.

Fort McPherson RCMP police the hamlet of Tsiigehtchic. In the last 14 months, there were eight Liquor Act complaints or investigations in the community, said RCMP spokesperson Julie Plourde in an e-mail. 

Of those eight occurrences, two involved the illegal sale of alcohol and one resulted in Liquor Act charges.

It's the second plebescite in two years for Tsiigehtchic, which also voted to lift its ban on booze in June 2018. However, that vote was not an official plebiscite, leading community leaders to schedule one for January 2020.

It is now up to the territory's liquor board to approve the change in restrictions, something Smith said that he expects will happen within the next month.

With files from Mackenzie Scott