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City council opts for regulation over ban of Regina massage parlours

After extensive debate city council has opted for regulating Regina’s approximately 20 massage parlours through a licensing program and Zoning Bylaw changes.A motion brought forward by Ward 4 Coun. Lori Bresciani during a special city council meeting Monday night to ban them outright was defeated, with five councillors in support of a ban — including Mayor Michael Fougere — and six in favour of regulating.Regulations will focus on protecting workers and the integrity of neighbourhoods, according to administration, who will come back with a fleshed-out regulatory framework in March of 2020 that takes into account comments and concerns voiced by city council during Monday night’s meeting.  In addition to a licensing program, administration is proposing a one-block separation distance from schools, churches, daycares and other massage parlours, similar to the regulations applied to cannabis retail outlets.Changes to the Zoning Bylaw are also being recommended to distinguish between massage parlours and therapeutic massage by using the term “body rub establishments.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Currently, the Zoning Bylaw allows massage parlours as a discretionary use in industrial zones, although none of the approximately 20 massage parlours currently operating in Regina are complying with the bylaw.Administration is recommending they also be allowed as a discretionary use in major arterial zones (where most massage parlours currently operate), such as Victoria Avenue and Albert Street.After hearing calls for some amendments to the proposed Zoning Bylaw changes, including also requiring a one-block separation distance from residential zones, administration will also come back with refined zoning recommendations at a Priorities and Planning Committee sometime before the spring.Residents had a chance to voice their concerns at an executive committee meeting in June.Consistent with public consultations that occurred in March, the majority of delegations who shared their views advocated for a complete ban on massage parlours instead of licensing, arguing regulation would increase the demand for sexual services and human trafficking.Thirteen delegations spoke at Monday night’s meeting to councillors and administration, many who continued calls for an outright ban.jackerman@postmedia.com read more