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Liquor sales outlet wanted in the Nass Valley
THE provincial liquor distribution branch is considering an application by the gas station and convenience store in New Aiyansh in the Nass Valley to open a liquor store.
The branch is now sifting through public comments on what would be the only liquor sales outlet in the valley.
Officially called a rural agency store, similar outlets are located within established businesses in smaller and more isolated communities in BC considered too small to support a standard provincial liquor store.
Only one rural agency store is permitted in a community and although the store would have access to all available liquor products, it would not necessarily have the same selection as a provincial outlet due to limited space or other reasons.
There are more than 200 agency stores in BC.
When asked if curbing acknowledged bootlegging issues in the valley was one of the reasons to consider the request, the liquor distribution branch did not comment.
Sgt. Donovan Tait, the officer in charge of the Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP detachment and who has concentrated on bootlegging during his tenure in the Nass Valley, wasn't sure if the illegal trade in alcohol would be dampened.
“It may curb the illegal sale of alcohol in some areas of the [Nisga'a] Nation. Do I think it will stop it all together? One could argue that in the western villages [of the Nass Valley], the residents who sell liquor unlawfully would have less distance to travel,” said Tait.
“Whatever is decided, [the RCMP] look forward to continue working with the villages to keep everyone safe as we move forward. This is an issue that many rural communities struggle with."
Liquor distribution branch officials have already visited the valley and public comment has been gathered.
That included comments from the RCMP.
“The Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP does not have any official position on the liquor store application. We have been approached for input [and] will provide the liquor board with factual information surrounding public safety that may assist them in their process,” said Tait.
Tait, who is being transferred to Nanaimo after two years in the Nass Valley, was instrumental in organizing high-profile seizures of alcohol meant for illegal re-sale.
Seizures took place at residences and at traffic stops.