Many are having mixed emotions over the province’s push to add private liquor sales in Saskatchewan.
On Wednesday, the province revealed who will run 50 new private liquor stores in Saskatchewan. Three of the stores will be coming to Saskatoon, with private companies taking over existing SLGA outlets at Market Mall and on 20th Street. A third store will be built new.
People shared their thoughts on the upcoming changes outside the soon-to-be-privatized Riversdale Liquor Store on 20th Street Thursday.
“They should stay just the way they are because they’re helping out the communities now and when they get privatized, they won’t be able to do the same,” said Vince, who didn’t want his last name used.
Vince said he’s mainly concerned over who might lose out from local Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) sponsorship initiatives.
“Sports activities and the leisure stuff they always pay for,” he said.
The Riversdale Liquor Store is one of three in Saskatoon set to be taken over by private business. Who exactly will own the 20th Street storefront has yet to be released.
Lisa Curry said she doesn’t buy alcohol herself, but believes privatizing liquor sales might increase prices, which could ultimately benefit society.
“Maybe it might be better. Maybe we will have less (road) accidents if that happens,” she said.
Aberdeen to get liquor outlet after years of going without
Yeuk Ping Chan, owner of the Soul Wok Chinese Restaurant in Aberdeen, won her bid to open a private liquor store in the town, located about 40 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. The new liquor store will be located next door to the eatery, and work is already underway to install coolers, counters and shelves.
“It’s a separate business to the restaurant,” Chan said. “We still have lots of work to do – we still have to renovate the liquor store,” Chan said.
People in the community told 650 CKOM it’s been years since Aberdeen had any kind of facility dedicated to selling liquor – outside of restaurants. Typically if someone wanted to buy booze, they’d need to travel out of town.
Chan expects to open the new store in February 2017.
– With files from JT Marshall.