Prince Albert’s downtown liquor store. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

The Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce says City Council is stifling debate on access to alcohol.

The province recently announced that it has 50 opportunities, as new liquor store permits become available and less profitable public stores are closed down.

The province’s call for proposals doesn’t include Prince Albert because in December, Prince Albert City Council declined to add any liquor stores by writing a letter saying Prince Albert is not among the communities that are “underserved.”

The mayor and many city councillors have stood firm on their view that Prince Albert does not need more liquor stores, citing the current addictions issues within the community.

Now in a Chamber of Commerce news release, signed by CEO Larry Fladager on behalf of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, says the social costs City Council has cited should be up for debate.

He is arguing that a high-end store supports business growth and consumer choice, instead of threatening to worsen the alcohol and addiction statistics.

Fladager is highly critical of council, asking if the City will review the existing drinkin establishments in Prince Albert.

“It is worthwhile to ask if council has analyzed whether the social costs outweigh the economic benefits of our current liquor outlets? Is council saying that no new liquor permits or licenses will be issued in this city?” the release asks.

The news release urges City Council to rethink and allow for public debate about the merits of a new retail liquor store.

There’s no word on what could come of this on the provincial level, as the call for proposals are already well underway.

They’re currently accepting proposals in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Kindersley, Melville, Lloydminster.