Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit September 12, 2017 - 2:30 pm

No bump in alcohol-related crime since beer-wine store: Nunavut RCMP

But police still encourage residents to drink responsibly

Since its grand opening, Sept. 6, long lines have stretched outside the doors of Iqaluit's new beer and wine store, around the adjoining liquor warehouse and down the road. Some have reported waiting longer than an hour to place their orders inside. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Since its grand opening, Sept. 6, long lines have stretched outside the doors of Iqaluit's new beer and wine store, around the adjoining liquor warehouse and down the road. Some have reported waiting longer than an hour to place their orders inside. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

It’s been open for less than a week, but Nunavut RCMP said so far, so good: Iqaluit’s new beer and wine Store has not fuelled any more criminal activity in the territory’s capital, the RCMP said Sept. 12.

The new retail outlet opened Sept. 6 and since then has drawn hundreds of Iqalungmiut to purchase alcohol from the city’s first walk-in outlet store in four decades.

The store, open Tuesday through Saturday, has attracted long line-ups outside the Lower Base building, which is still being renovated.

The lines were so long Sept. 9 that some enterprising residents set up a table selling drinks and snacks—and for a few of $10, offered to stand in line for customers.

The Nunavut RCMP said the opening of the store does not appear to have led to an increase in alcohol-related crime

“The Iqaluit RCMP did not notice an increase in the number of calls for service or calls involving alcohol since the opening of the store,” the RCMP said.

Still, Nunavut police ask Nunavummiut to drink responsibly and not to drive if they have had something to drink.

The new store is a three-year pilot project initiated by the Government of Nunavut, as a harm reduction measure to, in part, cut back on bootlegging and binge-drinking in Nunavut’s largest community.

In 2015, residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strictly-controlled retail outlet for alcohol.

The new outlet features 23 brands of beer and more than 70 brands of wine, listed on television screens in the small space. Customers can order a maximum of one case of beer plus two bottles of wine per day.

A case of 12 beer runs between $30 and $40, while wine costs anywhere from $15 to $20 (fortified or sparkling wine is more expensive).

Approximately 800 people had pre-registered customer accounts prior to the store’s opening, the GN said last week.

The community’s last over-the-counter liquor store dates to the early 1970s when Iqaluit was a Northwest Territories hamlet called Frobisher Bay and had less than a third of its current population. The commissioner of the Northwest Territories closed that store in 1975, following a local campaign to have it shut down.

The Iqaluit store arrives a few years after the co-operatives association in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, re-launched beer and wine sales in the region’s largest community in 2013.

The co-op in Puvirnituq started selling beer and wine in 2015.

Nunavik police have also said those sales do not appear to be fuelling alcohol-related crime in either community.

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share Comment on this story...

(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by Duffman on September 12, 2017

Just some public drunkeness but as long as they are not causing and problems I’m ok with it.

Super long lines hopefully child tax money and money for food is not going for beer and wine instead, everyday it’s been a long line since the start.

Hoping for it to slow down a bit after a while.

#2. Posted by Don't have stats but do have common sense on September 12, 2017

The number of drunks going around kuujjuaq is staggering to say the least. The number of vehicle accidents is frightening. For anyone to say otherwise they’re either in denial or down right stupid, blind or all the above. It’s not hidden, it’s out there for any sensible person to see. These are serious issues, crime or not, but alcohol is behind it all. You know, it’s not all about crime. Just talk to a few social workers, a few doctors or nurses, they dealing with the non criminal aspects of alcohol. Funny how we measure only by crime, not by death and destruction.

#3. Posted by Donald on September 12, 2017

It’s early, just the start, let’s see how it is in three months time.

#4. Posted by next government on September 12, 2017

The next government will build an alcohol/drug rehabilitation centre.

#5. Posted by Observer on September 12, 2017

#2, how does the number of drunks staggering around Kuujjuaq compare to before booze was being sold by the store? Without knowing the numbers (those statistics you don’t know), it’s impossible to judge if the problem is worse, better, or the same.

I know I’ve been to communities that don’t have a beer store that nevertheless have people stumbling around in a stupor, so the absence of one certainly isn’t a cure.

#6. Posted by Common sense on September 12, 2017

Yes, common sense. Our basic common sense,  Observer. That’s what is used to see what kuujjuaq has become in regards to drunks, since the co-op start selling beer and wine. As I stated, I have no stats, but am , not stupid. The drunken behaviour in kuujjuaq is the talk of the town for any sensible people, drinkers or non.. Come and take a look. And talk to some first line responders at the hospital. And stats are only as good as the keepers, and the knowledge of there use. Don’t tell people that they’re not seeing what they’re seeing.

#7. Posted by Drunk on the steps on September 12, 2017

Many of us kuujjumiut are fit up with the number of drunks on the steps of the Coop store. I know drunks are not suppose to buy beer, but why are some many always handing out on the front steps. It is not a nice scene.

#8. Posted by my oh my on September 12, 2017

Not even a week…like 3 days??? 
Come on…even the US gave Trump 50 days.  And look at that outcome.

#9. Posted by No pressure on September 13, 2017

No pressure Iqaluitmiut but how you handle your alcohol with the opening of the store will determine if other stores will open in other communities.

#10. Posted by Just an opinion on September 13, 2017

CUT DOWN on binge drinking? HA! Best joke I’ve heard all week, you know what I see? Parents going out drinking even after buying some beer from the store, coming home to drink even more! The lasting effects this store will have in Iqaluit will continue, I was opposed for this opening and I am already sick of it

#11. Posted by Not likely on September 14, 2017

#10 parents are not getting into the bars after drinking a dozen beer and 2 bottles of wine so yes it may cut down on binge drinking but even if it doesn’t, it cuts down on the costs for those who have a problem hence maybe more of their income will go towards food for their families. Bars and bootleggers are expensive. Booze is always readily available so may as well have it cheaper.

#12. Posted by My oh my on September 14, 2017

#11.  Are you for real??  So your answer to stop over indulging and alcoholism by them having more money??  From a recovering:  the ONLY thing that having more money will do is let them have more money to piss away on booze…while the liquor store is open and after hours by bootleggers.  An excessive dr@ker, alcoholic will not stop until more booze or more money.  Every one is missing the point here.  Most of us came to Nunavut to help the inuit…not make it worse.  Trying to prove this store is good for anyone but yourselves is selfish and is against every reason for being here.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?