Carlington residents were surprised several months ago to find a new store, featuring sexually explicit videos and sex aids, had opened in our community. Located on Merivale near Coldrey, it is within a few blocks of four schools and four churches. It is within metres of the Carlington Community and Health Services, which numbers among its patients victims of sexual abuse.
Reverend Michael Fleming, the pastor of St. Peter's Anglican Church, which finds itself almost diagonally opposite the sex shop, raised the issue at the Annual General Meeting of the Carlington Community Association (CCA) this Summer. The overwhelming majority of the CCA members voted to ask the City to try to close it down, as they voiced concern for the neighbourhood children who might be exposed to the hard-core materiel sold there. Reverend Fleming followed that meeting up with a letter and a petition to City Council.
Councillor Karin Howard offered to take the matter up with City staff, to see what could be done about the situation. She sent the following letter to Reverend Fleming as a status report on her efforts to date:
Dear Reverend Fleming,
Thank you for your letter and attached petition expressing concerns regarding the recent establishment of an adult video store in Carlington. I truly appreciate the fact that you have drawn my attention to the concerns of your parishioners.
As promised at the Carlington Community Association Annual General Meeting, at which time the majority of members present supported a motion against the location of the business on that site, I have attempted to meet with the owner of the business. Unfortunately, however, I have not as yet been successful in that endeavour.
I asserted at the AGM that discussing your concerns with the owner of the store would be merely my first step. I promised that I would also ascertain what influence the City can exert on local businesses of this type. Attached please find a staff report as approved by City Council in 1994 which explains what regulation is in place and a follow up report from 1995 which explores the possibility of restricting existing and future stores from locating in residential zones and within 250 meters from residential zones. Staff did not proceed with this proposal.
I have brought forward a motion directing staff to re-examine the issue, a copy of which is attached for your information, with a view to enacting more restrictive regulations. I still believe, however, that it is my duty to actually see the inside of one of these stores and get a sense of the moral standard set by the products. I will try to visit the "XXX Video and Sex Shoppe" on Merivale Road, accompanied by City staff, before the next Policy, Priorities & Budgeting(PP&B) Committee meeting, which is scheduled to be held August 29,1996.
If I am convinced that this establishment does present a threat to the well-being of the community, then I will consider bringing forward a motion directing staff to report back on further heightening restrictions. This would move one step closer toward your suggestion of requiring public consultation before issuing a business license to an enterprise of this nature.
I trust that you find the above a satisfactory status report on the matter to date. Should you have any comments or concerns, please feel free to call me at 244-5365.
Councillor Mooney's Bay Ward