Ponoka takes time with booze bylaw

Second reading of a Ponoka bylaw limiting liquor, off sales and pawn store hours isn’t coming soon.

Second reading of a Ponoka bylaw limiting liquor, off sales and pawn store hours isn’t coming soon.

“It may be a while because the council wants to hear more from the public,” said town chief administrative officer Brad Watson.

“It could be discussed at a Feb. 19 committee of the whole (council meeting) and perhaps brought back for additional information on Feb. 26.”

Second reading won’t occur until some councillors away on winter holidays return at the end of February or in early March.

“This isn’t a hurry up offence bylaw. We want to make sure we hear from all people.”

Council passed first reading in November of a bylaw to restrict liquor store sales and hotel liquor off-sales to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Liquor delivery would end at 10:30 p.m. Pawnshops would be restricted to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The bylaw is modelled on one in Wetaskiwin that has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2010.

Ponoka has six liquor stores, two off-sales locations and one pawn shop.

At a public meeting on Jan. 15, Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm said the town’s 2012 impaired driving rate is more than two-and-a-half times the provincial average and 109 charges were laid last year compared to 49 in 2009.

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