PRESS RELEASE - La Ronge Alcohol Strategy

Published on Jul 13, 2017 at 02:25p.m.

It is evident that there is an alcohol problem in many communities. Some of these problems include crime, health care costs and education. All of these points are very strongly linked to alcohol misuse.  To address this issue a group of three individuals have been seconded by government to work in community to build capacity with sound data for evaluation and monitoring and with evidence based solutions and options to address the situation. This group includes Harold Johnson, Carla Frohaug and Joan Johnson, supported by Human Service Ministries. This group has done extensive research and consultation since January of 2016 and presented a community informed, grassroots Community Alcohol Management Plan which was endorsed by the affected communities of La Ronge, Air Ronge and Lac La Ronge Indian Band July 2016. 

In recent talks in tri-community meetings to address public safety a set of evidence based policy options informed by community and with support of the Northern Alcohol Strategy were put forth by councillor Matt Klassen, one of the councillors appointed to the Community Alcohol Management Plan (CAMP) committee. These recommendations are a starting point and are not being imposed on anyone at all at this time. This is simply a start to the conversations that need to happen to ensure we do proper consultation.  From this meeting it was, decided to put forth a business case to the province with evidence supporting recommendations the community wanted to proceed with. 

Since then more work on policy options has occurred. A draft municipal alcohol policy is now in the consultation stage. Town of La Ronge has accepted the policy options in principle, however is committed to ensuring proper consultation is done both with the businesses affected and with community members. 

Local liquor vendors as well as SGLA representation were invited to discuss the case with Council and gather their input. This meeting was both successful and productive and we will be meeting again in August to further discussion on some of the more controversial recommendations. 

The La Ronge and District Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting a business forum on July 18th to consult with the business community as a whole and gather their input to add to the plan.  Presentations will be provided by Northern Alcohol Strategy, Population Health Unit, Sask Hotel Association and Tourism Saskatchewan.  Both the Chamber of Commerce and Town council are committed to proper consultations with all that may be affected by this strategy.

Matt Klassen
Town of La Ronge Councillor 
President, La Ronge Chamber of Commerce. 

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