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Staying dry on the Arctic Red River

Philippe Morin
Northern News Services

Tsiigehtchic (Nov 27/06) - The hamlet of Tsiigehtchic might not have a resident police officer, said Chief Peter Ross, but it does a pretty good job limiting alcohol.

And now, the community has renewed its vow to keep itself dry, after a town meeting held Nov. 20.

"We keep it under control. Some communities have a whole fleet of police and they can't keep it under control," Ross said of alcohol in the hamlet.

As he prepared to address community members, Chief Ross said some people were concerned alcohol was being smuggled into Tsiigehtchic, which officially banned the substance in the early 1990s.

"People figure we should do more," he said, adding that travellers to the community were usually responsible.

However, Ross said Tsiigehtchic has comparatively few problems with alcohol, which he has called a source of poverty and misery for some Northern towns.

"It's not that bad. Alcohol keeps a low profile and it's not much of a problem here compared to other communities," he said.

RCMP Const. Calvin Roberts, who, like all officers from Fort McPherson, sometimes travels to Tsiigehtchic, attended the alcohol meeting.

He said the meeting did not create any new laws to enforce prohibition, but strengthened the community's resolve to stay dry.

"There is a commitment to the old measures and they want to see it enforced," he said.

In recent weeks, Fort McPherson also voted to hold a plebiscite on alcohol restriction.

Since the community's RCMP department also covers Tsiigehtchic, Chief Ross said the measure will benefit both communities.