Cardston residents to vote on ending prohibition
Cardston was one of a handful of southern Alberta communities to remain dry following the end of Alberta's prohibition in 1923.
But that could soon change.
As the rest of the province heads to the polls to decide who the province's next premier will be, voters in Cardston will vote on a proposed bylaw to allow limited liquor sales in the town.
"They had a plebiscite about eight or nine years ago and it was defeated. But now, there seems to be a change in attitude within the community. There's more people moving in and the population percentage of Mormonism in Cardston is lowering," said Ivan Negrych, Cardston resident and owner of the Cobblestone Manor restaurant and bed and breakfast.
The proposed change would only allow for liquor sales in restaurants and certain recreation facilities.
No liquor stores would be allowed.
The question on the ballot will read, "Are you in favour of passing Bylaw 1647K and allowing limited liquor sales in Town by restricting the sale of liquor to only Class A liquor licences in restaurants and Class B liquor licences in recreational facilities (Golf Course and Agridome)?"
The vote itself is also non-binding, meaning town council doesn't have to act on the result of the vote.
Town council has the ability to make this decision unilaterally, but felt it should consult the town, saying in a statement, "It would be a good idea to solicit feedback via a vote of the electors on the proposed land-use bylaw changes that would allow for Type A licences at restaurants, and Type B licences in recreation facilities."
Negrych is a part of a group of Cardston residents pushing for the town to allow liquor sales.
He believes he's missing out on significant revenue as a result and, according to him, it has made it tougher to sell his business as restaurateurs seem to be shying away because they know they won't be able to sell alcohol.
"We had someone offer and was looking to buy this place a few years ago and he ran a Boston Pizza. And he was saying that his revenue from liquor is between 38 and 40 per cent of his gross income," said Negrych.
While the vote is non-binding, Negrych hopes town council will listen to the will of the people.
"If the community votes in favour of it, then the town can still say no. But they're showing more support then. If that's what the townspeople want, then you'll have to go with what the townspeople want."