Stewart bans massage parlours and other "undesirable businesses"

Post by Daniel Fontaine in ,


In a controversial move, Coquitlam has banned a number of "undesirable businesses" in their community

If you're looking for a pawn shop, methadone clinic, non-registered massage outlet, escort service or exotic dancing joint in Coquitlam, your search may be in vain. That's because Mayor Richard Stewart and his council have taken the bold move of banning all of the above from their quaint sub-urban community in Metro Vancouver.

In addition to the outright ban on the "undesirable businesses" listed above, the Tri-City News is reporting that you will not be able to establish an adult entertainment shop, adult video store, cheque-cashing outlet, scrap metal dealer or tattoo parlour within one-kilometre of any other "undesirable business" in Coquitlam.

One could only imagine the outrage from Downtown Eastside activists if a city like Vancouver attempted such a sweeping policy initiative. However, the reality is that with Coquitlam taking a "tough love" approach on this type of activity, more of it is now likely to end up in Vancouver's downtown core. The decision of council was unanimous.

Mayor Stewart says that his initiative is aimed at making his City's business zones "family-friendly."

Coquitlam resident Lisa Vallister told council that she "regrets" moving out of Vancouver to Coquitlam where she was likely seeking a quieter existence. She told council at a public hearing:

I feel embarrassed as a citizen of this area.

The Mayor is also raising the license fees for existing pawn shop from the current $3,500 to $10,000. By raising the fees, council is likely hoping a number of existing pawn shops will simply fold up and move to other municipalities. 

Will other municipalities in the Metro Vancouver follow Coquitlam's lead? Or should they? Will this simply push the problem into a neighbouring municipality? What do you think?




Will other mayors be inspired by Coquitlam?

How does one ban undesirable mayors and councillors?

This 'tough love' approach is straight out of the Stephen Harper's play book. Make 'undesirable' activities illegal and jail all the participants.

As a resident of Coquitlam, I find this decision appaling.

I'll comment on one particularly business - methodone clinics. To ban this type of business shows just how out of touch and naieve the City Mayor and its counsellors are. I'll be blunt; they have their heads up their asses.

I work in the addictions field and hate to break it to the City of Coquitlam, but we have addiction issues, including heroin, here. We even have powdered heroin being used in Pinetree Secondary by the students there. I work with these individuals.

And these indivdiuals need to have access to a methodone clinic if they are to maintain and stabalize themselves as they cope with their addiction.

Your decision to close this "unsavory" business reflects poorly on you - you don't understand the problem, you're naieve to the problems that exist in Coquitlam; and you do not show compassion for our own residents that have a problem. For shame.

Regarding the City of Coquitlam’s recent decision to ban methadone clinics, I wish to voice how disgusted I am with this decision. Methadone clinics are viable treatment options for those individuals struggling with addiction issues; to ban these clinics from operating in the City serves to further exacerbate the problems faced by individuals seeking treatment.

Methadone clinics have had a proven track record within Canada in terms of the support they provide individuals facing addiction related issues. Methadone in and of itself is a proven method of treatment in that it by providing access to a stable supply of legal, pharmaceutical grade medication, the user is provided with a respite from the stress of maintaining a constant supply of illicit opioids. Consequently, the use of methadone reduces the use of opioids and other substances, e.g., cocaine; and provides for a reduction in criminal activity and prostitution. Methadone reduces mortality rates and thus serves as a bridge to stabilization and reintegration. The clinics themselves, due to the educational services provided, sees a reduction of injected related mishaps such as wounds, abscesses, and other bacteriological infection. Additional benefits come from a reduction in transmission of HIV, HCV, STI and other blood-related pathogens. Individuals who use methadone see improvement, physically and mentally with social functioning and quality of life becoming normal. For women who are pregnant, methadone decreases obstetrical and fetal complications protecting the fetus from erratic opioid levels and frequent opioid withdraw symptoms.

These benefits, of which I have only briefly described, have been effectively barred for any resident of Coquitlam. This begs the question as to whether or not the Mayor and City Counselors believe that Coquitlam residents have drug related issues in the first place for to bar methadone clinics from operating is akin to suggesting that the City of Coquitlam does not have any drug problems – a notion that is false, short-sighted, and ignorant.

Coquitlam does have drug related problems. We have illicit substances in our high schools – students report it is easier to obtain cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, or marijuana then it is to obtain cigarettes. Likewise, we have adults facing their own issues.

With a growing awareness that support and service are needed to help individuals facing addiction issues, this City should be actively encouraging methadone clinics. It also should be encouraging and supporting other drug related services. We should not be going backwards – and sadly, this is what has happened.

As such, I call on all individuals who have faced or are facing drug related concerns to write to the City asking them to reverse this decision. For those of you who have had family, friends, partners, and children that have, or are facing, drug related problems, write to the City and demand that this ban be rescinded.

Lastly, I ask the Mayor and City Counselors to demonstrate some humanity, compassion, and understanding, and become educated as to the benefits that methadone and methadone clinics can provide and reverse this decision.

Blech. This sounds like Stewart wants a municipal version of that scrubbed and shiny, yet sinister, Holy Land theme park in Orlando.

The methadone issue has been nicely answered by the two Gerrys, but the other "undesirable" shops are for adults to frequent as they wish (adult entertainment, tattoo joint) or are indicative of a community that suffers from poverty (pawn shops and cheque-cashing money marts).

Creating a middle-class, church-going oasis is not thoughtful urban policy. It is tremendously divisive and ignorant.

That's right, just prohibit ANY kind of business (massage, pawn shop, bars, nightclubs) in that city for the sake of "family-friendliness". That will cause all local small businesses go bankrupt or move out to a country that has more freedoms? but what does that matter, when
"family-friendliness" of the community is at stakes?!

Check out!

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