Sask. to review liquor retailing system

A plan for public consultations on the future of liquor retailing is included in the Saskatchewan government’s speech from the throne.

Premier Brad Wall’s throne speech, delivered Wednesday by Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Schofield, reiterated previous statements that the Saskatchewan Party government “will not spend one more taxpayers’ dollar building liquor stores.”

New liquor stores in the province will be built and operated by the private sector, Wall wrote Wednesday. Since the province’s request for proposals in late 2012, two private liquor stores have opened through retailers in Saskatoon and a second private store in Regina is due to open soon.

Saskatchewan’s Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) remains responsible for distribution, control and regulation of beverage alcohol in 2the province, and operates a retail system including 75 SLGA liquor stores, 185 “rural franchises” within private retail stores, the Regina and Saskatoon private stores and 449 “off-sale” beer stores.

The addition of private stores to the province’s liquor retail system “has been well received and many people are asking my government to go further,” Wall wrote.

This fall, he wrote, the province will release an “options paper” on the subject and will seek “feedback from the public regarding the future of liquor retailing in Saskatchewan.”

British Columbia earlier this month announced similarly relaxed liquor retailing rules to allow “store-within-a-store” liquor sales at eligible B.C. grocery stores starting next spring.

Saskatchewan’s throne speech also pledges to expand high-speed internet into another 54 communities by the end of the year and, through Crown-owned SaskTel, double the available internet speed in 220 rural communities and improving cell phone service in 111 rural communities by adding more capacity to SaskTel’s 4G network.

The province also pledged further consultations with “stakeholders” in coming months, leading toward “the development of new regulations governing drainage” as part of the province’s 25-year Water Security Plan. –– Network


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