'I only heard yea:' Iqaluit diner owner hopeful his liquor licence will be approved

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'I only heard yea:' Iqaluit diner owner hopeful his liquor licence will be approved

At a public hearing, Nunavut's Liquor Licensing Board heard unanimous support for a licence application from an Iqaluit diner.

Thursday night at Iqaluit's Cadet Hall, the owners of The Snack presented their case to the public and the liquor board for the right to serve a maximum of three beers to their in-house customers.

Despite being the only 24-hour delivery joint in town, the owners are only applying for a licence for the restaurant.

When questioned at the meeting, co-owner Danny Savard said it's his understanding that a liquor delivery service is not legal in the territory.

If its licence is approved, The Snack will only serve beer, but apart from the usual selection, Savard says he's hoping to sell what the planned microbrewery makes up.  

Of the about a dozen attendees at the hearing, more than half stood up to voice their support.

"I'm no longer a drinker, but how I feel about alcohol is I don't think it's so destructive, especially with they're trying to have a provision in there for a three-beer limit," said Iqaluit resident Jennifer Kilabuk.

Savard said he was feeling good about the words in favour. "I only heard yea and no nay's, so I think that's a good start."

The liquor board will deliberate and publish a written decision, which will be delivered to the owners and made public. The board's chair John Maurice, who managed the meeting, did not give a timeline for a decision.

"I think the special provision we want on the licence is our sales pitch, the maximum limit, which is a way to avoid a lot of trouble and still provide a service," Savard said. 

Iqaluit's views on alcohol changing

Savard said the Navigator Inn had a similar limit provision in its first liquor licence, but that has since changed.

He said a lot has changed in Iqaluit since he moved to town twenty years ago — the population has ballooned and people from all over the world have settled in the city. 

"That's what's prompted us to go ahead and give it a shot and apply for a licence," he said. "If we were backing up the clock 10 years ago, I don't think it would have been that easy... you would have had more people probably against the idea."

He noted the approval of beer and wine store, as an example of regulatory policy keeping up with the change.

He and his partners acquired the diner, which has been around since the early 1980s, in July and have more changes planned.

This summer they're hoping to renovate the interior dining room and long term plans include scouting expansion opportunities.