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

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
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.

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