La Ronge Liquor store. Credit Roman Hayter

By Roman Hayter

La Ronge Town Council announced it would consider allocating up to $2.5 million in funds to operate that community’s primary liquor store. The liquor permit from Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming went up for auction Tuesday, and so far, no bid has been made.

Mayor Joe Hordyski said that the idea for the purchase began after the province’s plan to privatize liquor sales. “I guess the idea sort of came up shortly after the announcement was made by the province. So we’ve kind of thrown that around council for a while, and I actually went out into the community and kind of put out some feelers on what people would think about it, and the response was very positive,” said Hordyski. “We just saw it as an opportunity to bring more revenue into the town, to meet some of the capital needs that we have. We did our strategic planning and our tenure capital planning, and it had a cost of $70 million, and the only way to achieve that would be raising taxes or fees for services, so that’s kind of how it came to be.”

The profits accumulated from the new source of revenue would be put toward local needs. “The profits would stay within the community and can possibly be used for programming for education in terms of some of the negative impact of drinking I guess, and the downs can be used to address our capital needs within the community. So, I think it’s a very positive thing if we were successful,” said Hordyski.

Hordyski also discussed the possibility of the town purchasing the old SGLA building within the community. “We would like to put that licence to work right away and so we would definitely look at the old building, it’s a separate process auction so if we were successful, I think we would definitely consider going in that direction,” said Hordyski.

La Ronge’s town council will meet again tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. to discuss the purchase. The La Ronge liquor permit is being sold via an auction that closes on February 23.