There’s a story making the rounds that the Teslin Tlingit Council told Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Stacey Hassard to look into the idea of building a liquor store in the community.
Chief Carl Sidney says that isn’t true.
“I’ve been told through the grapevine that the direction he (Hassard) received was from the executive council or some other leadership in Teslin, and that never happened,” Sidney said.
The Teslin Tlingit Council and the Village of Teslin are part of a joint council that received a presentation from Hassard, who is also the minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation, about the idea.
“The minister did make a presentation to us and we gave him the go-ahead to do a public consultation in Teslin. By no means did we ever give him direction to seek out building a liquor store here,” said Sidney.
The idea of a liquor store in Teslin isn’t going over well with all residents.
On April 21, NDP MLA Kate White tabled a petition from the community that was signed by 186 people asking the Yukon government to reconsider the idea.
The petition also called on the government to hold a public consultation over the issue and to consider investing in other projects that could be more beneficial to the community.
About 450 people live in Teslin. As it stands, alcohol is only available at the Yukon Motel and Restaurant.
Sidney said he hasn’t seen the petition in question, nor is he taking a side in the issue.
“We encourage everyone to participate in the public consultation,” he said.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the community says.”
When Sidney grew up in the community there were at least five locations that sold off-sales, he said.
Two were 24-hour establishments and one delivered to homes, he added.
“This is nothing new,” he said.
“We have a pretty responsible community here now and we’ve come a long way.”
Sidney said the Yukon Motel and Restaurant has been cooperative in the past about closing its off-sales when there is a memorial service in the community.
On April 21, Hassard said two community meetings had been held so far and that he’d continue to go door-to-door to find out more about the community’s feelings towards the idea.
He also said he hadn’t seen the petition either and that some residents had told him they’d signed without fully understanding the project’s implications in the community.
This morning cabinet spokesperson Dan Macdonald said Hassard was still busy consulting Teslin residents. He said it’s his understanding the idea was first brought forward by residents in the community.
Teslin Mayor Clara Jules declined to comment on the issue.
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