There may soon be one less strip club location allowed to operate in London.
At Tuesday’s community and protective services committee meeting, renewal of the adult entertainment licence for the east-end location that formerly housed Famous Flesh Gordon’s was up for debate.
Members voted unanimously to recommend removing the Dundas Street site from the roster of approved locations, but not before city councillors and community members spoke about the dangers they say strip clubs can pose to the community.
“In our legislation, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, sexual services are clearly defined, and they do define that lap-dancing — which is a regular occurrence at strip clubs — is illegal,” said Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre.
“I think it’s important to remember that illegal activity is going on in these establishments.”
Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza said the city needs to do whatever it can to stop the commodification of women and girls.
“I’m not a product and I have no interest in being viewed in that light,” Peloza said.
“Having entered some of those spaces myself, that’s how they tend to look at each other in that space — that’s your purpose. That mindset doesn’t always stay in that space and does find its way into our community.”
Although 2190 Dundas St. hasn’t been home to a strip club in years, the impact it’s had on the community has not been forgotten.
“Residents had to put up with noise at all hours of the day and night, particularly at night, as last call passed and as people came out, and unsavoury behaviour moved from inside to outside,” said Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis.
“Kids walking to the nearby Tim Hortons for lunch had to see activity happening outside of this building, which is not the kind of activity that you want to be exposing children in Grade 7 and 8 to,” he said.
Back in November, Roy O’Connor, owner of Lynn’s Bakery and Deli, bought the entire Dundas Street plaza in an effort to include more “neighbourhood-friendly” businesses in the area.
Both Lewis and Walker praised the O’Connor family for stepping up and taking the space in a new direction.
If dropping the Dundas Street spot is approved by full council later this month, that would leave just three locations in which strip clubs would be permitted to operate in the city.