Taxicab bootlegger bylaw up for debate

Tyler Clarke
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There appears to be enough support on city council to pass the taxicab bootlegger bylaw -- albeit, perhaps not next week.


Having taken some calls from members of the public about drive-thru liquor stores, Coun. Ted Zurakowksi asked city administration to make sure any future drive-thru liquor establishments come to both city council and the public prior to approval. 

The vote needs to be unanimous to pass three readings at a single meeting, and at least one city councillor has reservations.

“There is some inconvenience here for some folks – some of the older folks, in particular,” Coun. Don Cody said at Monday’s executive committee meeting.

Although it was misrepresented on the order paper council considered at Monday’s meeting, its intent is to ban taxicabs from using drive-thru liquor stores.

“The focus is on the drive-thru,” Coun. Martin Ring explained. “It’s still not stopping somebody from stopping in front of that establishment, getting out of their vehicle, walking in, making their purchase, getting into the car and leaving.

“From that perspective I don’t see it being quite as much of an inconvenience.”

The taxicab bootlegger bylaw was inspired after Mayor Greg Dionne met with a handful of cab drivers who had experienced the threat of violence and lost fares at drive thru liquor stores.

With at least one driver punched by a passenger, Dionne surmised that drivers might be intimidated into purchasing alcohol for underage or prohibited passengers, becoming reluctant bootleggers.

A properly worded bylaw amendment is expected to come before city council at next week’s meeting.

On a similar note, Coun. Ted Zurakowski asked administration to make sure city council and the public is notified prior to the approval of any more drive-thru liquor establishments.

“There are some members of the public who would like to express their opinions if there was an (application) in the community for a drive-thru liquor establishment,” he told administration.

“I do think that administration has heard loud and clear that this is a very touchy subject for council,” city manager Jim Toye said, adding that before any more drive-thru liquor stores are established they will come to city council and public notice.

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