LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –
You can’t legally order a drink at Hell’s Creek Golf Course or any of Raymond’s restaurants, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from drinking it.
Some residents think it’s time to change the rules to reflect reality.
“The golf course already sees a lot of (illegal) alcohol activity, so it would be nice to see it done in a safe atmosphere,” Angela James, manager of Brimstone Grill told Raymond.
For over 100 years, Raymond has been an arid community, but that may soon change. With the passage of the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act in June 2020, the province lifted the ban across Alberta.
Now the city is asking residents if they want alcohol to finally be served legally in the community, which James hopes to see.
“Licensing puts us, we have the ability to put people in watch positions, so it will be marshals and even staff that watch it and do it in a safer environment,” James said.
On Tuesday, the city launched a seven-week public engagement process to gather community feedback on changing the land use bylaw to allow restaurants in the community to sell alcohol.
Currently, if anyone in the city of 4,000 people wants to buy beer or liquor, they have to drive to Lethbridge.
“Instead of making a hasty decision, the council wanted to engage the public to see what their feelings were, if there was interest in allowing the sale of alcohol in various forms or if there was not.” , said Kurtis Pratt, general manager of the city of Raymond. .
The province has now opened the door to an application process for restaurants wishing to serve alcohol.
“The board believed it would only be a matter of time before a request was received by Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) for a specific class of license to be made available within the community” , Pratt added.
For restaurants seeking to serve alcohol, the AGLC said in a statement, “If the municipality chooses to remove the bylaw, restaurants and individuals wishing to sell or supply alcohol would require a license. of alcohol. Because Raymond is an unlicensed community, AGLC would refer the application to the municipality which would then have 90 days to make a decision.
Pratt said it was not the first time the subject had come up, with nearby communities of Stirling and Cardston also considering allowing alcohol sales.
At Raymond, the only thing being considered right now is restaurant sales, not liquor stores.
“At this time, the city is only considering Class A licenses which are restaurants where underage people are present, but food is the primary source of revenue,” Pratt said.
James said with the addition of liquor sales, the restaurant could see an increase in revenue leading to more jobs for the community. She said safety would remain a top priority.
“If we’re going to do it, we’re not planning on serving highballs, we just want to do it so people can (drink) something while they’re having the golf course experience,” James said.
There will be two public engagement events at the Raymond Seniors Center on March 9 and 23, with a live-streamed version available on the city’s website.
Residents can get involved online from March 24 to April 7 by visiting https://raymond.ca/let’s talk/