I don’t believe Coun. Ted Zurakowski intended to spark a public debate about alcohol problems in our city with his comments at city council last week, but he did get a conversation started. And that’s a good thing.
Zurakowski, the West Hill councillor, suggested that a request to support the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies be changed so as to not specifically support a wine-and-cheese reception. He argued that, given the problem in our city with alcohol abuse, it was inappropriate for taxpayer dollars to fund the purchase of wine. Other councillors agreed and the donation of $2,500 was made, but toward general expenses for the event that was held last week at the Art Hauser Centre.
It may seem like a shell game: The end result was $2,500 went to an event, regardless of the label attached to the money. Is this really the city taking a stand? Shell game or not, though, the topic caught the attention of the media and the public.
Saturday’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix included a feature article on the issues with alcohol in Prince Albert. Interviews were not limited to just administration at the police station or the mayor; the reporter also talked to downtown business owners and even a couple of whiskey-drinkers by the bridge. It was a well-rounded piece and it has sparked considerable public discussion.
Many of the statistics in the article, and quoted in Herald articles as well, come from the Case for a Prince Albert and Region Alcohol…