REGINA – Stripping took centre stage at Regina city hall on Monday night – but it won’t happen in a licensed establishment any time soon.
In a 9-1 decision before an overflow crowd, city council voted to shoot down a proposed strip club at the former Whiskey Saloon location on Park Street.
The proposal met all bylaw requirements set out by the city, which require a strip club be more than 183 metres from churches, schools and day cares. Debate focused on the discretion of councillors who cited safety concerns or believed a strip club was morally wrong for the community.
“We made the right decision,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “Council acted under its discretion, as is right under the law, to say no to the application.”
Ward 3’s Shawn Fraser was the only councillor who supported the plan, believing the city and province need better regulation of the adult entertainment industry.
“They did something that was best for the community.”
At one point, Fraser pulled out a phone book and said strippers can still be found in Regina. “We’re not the gatekeepers to this,” he told council.
21 delegates presented to council with all but one of them against the strip club proposal. Many were local religious groups while others believed exotic dancing is degrading to women and can lead to prostitution, human trafficking or organized crime.
“I think there are more concerns than just the human trafficking aspect, but I’m thankful for council’s decision,” Mackenzie Tippe told Global News after the vote. “They did something that was best for the community.”
The proposed strip club operator, Bryon Gottfredsen, was disappointed by the decision. In his report to council, Gottfredsen said he’s seen “sufficient demand” for adult entertainment in Regina.
The nature of councillors’ questions seemed to doubt his reputation. “I’ve worked very closely with police officers that will stand beside my character and support me on what I do,” Gottfredsen said.
He wouldn’t rule out a legal challenge of the decision, but said it would be a few days until any choices are made.
New regulations came into effect in 2014, which relaxed liquor laws and allowed for stripping and wet t-shirt contests in drinking establishments. Full-frontal nudity is still prohibited and nipples must be covered.
SEE BELOW: Replay of Global Regina’s live blog from the strip club decision Monday night