By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Residents of Cardston have voted in favour of allowing limited liquor sales in a non-binding vote of electors that was held by the town during the May 29 election.
The matter of allowing alcohol to be sold within the Town of Cardston, is one that has been discussed since 2019, after the Alberta government passed the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act.
Current council wanted to get input from the public, and during the election a question was placed on the ballot that 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 Bylaw 1647K is set to amend Land Use Bylaw 1647 and according to the town website, the Land Use Bylaw is the largest bylaw for Cardston, and controls all land uses in the town, including what you can build, where you can do business, and what types of businesses are allowed in different land use zones.
Previous council had not agreed with the previously proposed amendments and defeated them on their first reading, while the current council tabled the current amendment after a business owner requested it.
The business owner asked council during their Jan. 10 meeting to put a bylaw together to allow liquor sales for businesses and the golf course. He said he was concerned about the loss of revenue the golf course is suffering because of liquor sales.
He presented them with a comparison from other golf courses which are gaining up to $300,000 in liquor sales revenue, while Cardston’s golf course is gaining none.
According to their website, during elections 925 eligible electors voted, with 494 in favour of the amendment and 431 against it.
Since every proposed bylaw requires three readings before it is passed, a public hearing will be held at a date that is not yet determined before giving the amendment a second reading. During the public hearing, members of the community will have an opportunity to speak to council in favour or against it.
In March 2022 the Town of Raymond asked residents if they wanted to have licensed restaurants sell alcohol in that community. The licenses would specifically have been for sale and consumption of alcohol on licensed premises that serve the public where food is the primary source of business.
A 6-1 vote by town council in April of last year saw the town keep in place its 120-year-old ban on alcohol sales.
A survey of town residents showed 52 per cent were against changing the Raymond liquor policy.