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Stricter regulations wanted for liquor store locations

A business owner in Grande Prairie is raising the issue of too many liquor stores that are too close together in the city. Andrew Cho owns a liquor store in the south end and says it doesn’t make any sense to have these establishments in such close proximity. He says some of the stores you see are around the corner from one another.

“I am addressing this issue as a liquor store owner because I truly see the saturation. Anyone is the city can see that there are more liquor stores coming and opening every year. We are ready to establish a committee.”

He says after talking to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, he learned that five more are heading for Grande Prairie. Right now, there are 44 stores selling booze. That means there is one for every 1,435.5 people. The plan is to rally up members for a committee made of independent owners and others interested in the issue.

“I really don’t see the need for any more in town but the fact that there is one opening downtown and then another opening downtown, really raises an issue with over saturation.”

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He would like to see some sort of regulation when it comes to how close a liquor store can be to another like Slave Lake, Calgary and Edmonton have. In Edmonton, liquor stores cannot be less than 500 metres apart, with some stipulations.

Mayor Bill Given says the liquor store issue has come up in the past but this is the first time a liquor store owner has brought it forward. He isn’t sure if committee and council will hold this higher than other issues before because it is from someone in the industry.

“I think that is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, business is coming forward asking for more regulation. On the other hand, people that are already in the business are looking to protect their business interest.”

The issue will be looked at as a land use bylaw or licensing discussion by a city committee.

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