July 23rd, 2024

Raymond’s choice to stay a dry town their prerogative

By Lethbridge Herald on April 30, 2022.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

A recent vote by the majority of Raymond town council to keep the town dry has prompted some discussion since the announcement was made of the result.

Much of what I’ve heard hasn’t been positive with commentators questioning the motivation for the vote. Some of the reasoning for the opposition, from what I gather, is that the town’s demographics have changed since it was founded as a Mormon community. Some feel that those who don’t belong to the faith shouldn’t be prevented from ordering a drink with a meal if they want.

But I’m actually kind of proud of council in the town where I grew up for standing its ground on the issue. Regardless of whether their motivation is because of religious beliefs or other reasons, Raymond town councillors were elected to represent the wishes of their constituents. And residents showed their preferences when 459 respondents to a survey stated they didn’t want alcohol in their community. That’s almost double the number – 238 – who wanted prohibition to end completely. Another 166 said they favoured having alcohol served in restaurants. Together, those latter two sides accounted for 404 responses, which isn’t too far behind the pro-prohibition stance. But the fact those who were against changing rules outnumber both those groups states clearly the town’s preference.

 I salute Raymond’s council Certainly, having alcohol sales would be a convenience for those who imbibe there but is not having it available that much of an inconvenience? Alcohol can be purchased in either Lethbridge or nearby Milk River which certainly isn’t as handy as driving a few blocks to a store in Raymond for consumers but it’s still available close by.

I’ve heard the argument that alcohol sales are important for restaurants and I understand that. But with alcohol use comes plenty of social problems, as well. And it’s just as easy to get plastered at a restaurant over a meal as it is sitting at a bar stool. That may be great for a business’ bottom line but is it great for society?

Given the well-known negative impacts of alcohol, keeping it out of town may lower the consequences of usage in the community. Drug and alcohol abuse are everywhere and if the residents of Raymond want to protect their community, power to them. It’s their choice and their right to have a say in matters which affect them.

I think we all should have a say in our communities about matters which directly impact us and through our municipal, provincial and federal  government representatives we can have that voice.

Outside commentators, who may only think of the word “Mormon” when they think of Raymond, really have no business criticizing a community in which they don’t live and pay taxes. And booze isn’t completely banned from the town – people can still get licences to serve it at weddings and special events. 

I’m not LDS so my opinion here is not based on any religious belief – it’s based on respect for the townsfolk in a community I called home through junior and senior high school, a town where I still have friends and where I made many cherished lasting memories.

Raymond has the right to determine its own future and if banning alcohol sales in restaurants or anywhere is the preference of residents, so be it. They live there and have to deal with the consequences that alcohol use can bring. Raymond is their home and residents there are the ones who should determine what’s acceptable in their own home like we all do. 

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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