By Kenyon Stronski
Westwind Weekly News
Since November, Raymond town council has been discussing potentially changing the Town’s Land Use Bylaw to allow ‘Class – A Minors Allowed’ liquor licenses in their otherwise ‘dry’ town. A public hearing was held earlier this year, along with a survey that concluded April 7.
At their Apr. 19 meeting of council, Raymond’s council voted to not amend the bylaw, thus keeping the town dry. The motion was defeated by all by Coun. Kelly Jensen who voted in favour of the amendment.
Within the survey analysis, it is pointed out that “Based on the results, neither those who are opposed to amending the Town’s Land Use Bylaw, nor the majority of those who are in favour of amending the Town’s Land Use Bylaw care all that much about whether doing so will help the local economy. For those who are opposed, this issue is about preserving the Town’s heritage, identity and mitigating perceived social harms associated with alcohol use and abuse. For the majority of those who are in favor, this issue is about respecting individual choice and becoming more inclusive.” Noting that most respondents chose extremes at the opposite ends of the survey.
“When we first started this I was a little bit apprehensive about doing this survey,” began Raymond Mayor Jim Depew at the Apr. 19 council meeting. “But having 885 survey votes was pretty positive. We’ve asked the citizens what they’ve wanted on this touchy issue, and the citizens have responded very well. Not as good as our election that had 1500 votes, but we’re over 50 per cent.”
The first question of the survey read, “Town Council is considering adjusting the Town’s alcohol policy so that a) town residents will be encouraged to spend more of their disposable income in support of the local economy.”
462 people voted for the option ‘I do not support adjusting the Town’s alcohol policy, no matter how much it might help the local economy.’ 107 people voted ‘I support adjusting the Town’s alcohol policy but only if it helps the local economy.’ 288 voted for ‘I support adjusting the Town’s alcohol policy, regardless of whether it helps the local economy.’ 28 voted indifferent.
Question two read, ‘Since it was founded, the Town of Raymond has remained a predominantly “dry” community. Which of the following statements best describes your position?’
459 voted for, ‘The Town of Raymond should remain a predominantly “dry” community.’ 166 voted for, ‘The Town of Raymond should permit licensed restaurants but only licensed restaurants.’ 238 voted for ‘The Town of Raymond should end prohibition altogether.’ 22 voted indifferent.