The Teslin woman who started a petition against the idea of allowing a liquor store in the community admits she would stand to lose out financially if the project goes through.
Juanita Kremer and her husband, Steve, run the Yukon Motel and Restaurant in Teslin. It’s the only establishment in the community where alcohol is available.
Their petition, which collected 186 signatures, was tabled at the legislative assembly on April 21.
Kremer said the idea of having a liquor store in Teslin has been “whispers in the wind” for a long time.
She conceded that she wouldn’t be able to compete against a government-run liquor store in town.
“If anybody wants to go and do the things that we were required to do to open up and keep our liquor off-sales until now, that’s up to them,” she said. “But it’s not fair to compete against the government because I can’t.”
Kremer said she was having a tough time finding out more information about the liquor store, and felt like the petition would be a good way of opening up a dialogue in the community.
She said she wrote a letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski in December about it but didn’t hear back.
“It’s a huge white elephant in this town.”
Kremer said she participated in the process that led to the creation of the Teslin Community Development Plan last year, which outlines capital and infrastructure projects for the next decade.
Her petition calls on the government to consider investing in other projects that could be more beneficial to the community, as outlined in the plan.
A new pool is one of the items listed.
“The pool was huge but it fell by the wayside because they said it would be too expensive,” she said.
“Somehow, despite our consultations and dialogue, the biggest discussion we’re having now is about a liquor store. That’s the most unfortunate part.
“A pool would unite us, that’s what people are crying for.”
The community expects a new pool would cost about a half million dollars, and anywhere between $35,000 and $317,000 per year to maintain, according to past research.
Last week, Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Stacey Hassard said he’s been told the community doesn’t want a pool anymore.
“When the First Nation or the local municipal government is approached with the idea of a swimming pool they say, “No, absolutely not. We can’t afford it. We’re not interested. Please don’t approach your government about building us a swimming pool.”
Kremer said she doesn’t know if the idea for a liquor store came from the Yukon government or somewhere else.
Earlier this week Teslin Tlingit Council Chief Carl Sidney told the News it didn’t come from the First Nation. He said he also wanted to see more public consultation in the community. On Monday cabinet spokesperson Dan Macdonald said Hassard was still busy consulting Teslin residents about the liquor store.
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