A new massage parlour on 124th Street is sabotaging a hard-earned revitalization of the area, the local business association says.

The group wants city council to come up with the tools to allow them to block the issuing of licences for businesses that don't fit the character of the neighbourhood.

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Helen Nolan says a new massage parlour threatens the work 124th Street businesses have done to restore the area. ((CBC))

"We're putting lots of money into revitalization, a façade improvement program," said Helen Nolan, executive director of the 124th Street Business Association.

"I've got people coming to this area that are entrepreneurs, starting new businesses.  I represent them and I'm standing up for them."

Nolan said local communities should have more say when adult businesses such as massage parlours and adult video stores open in their area.

"We have a daycare two buildings down from one of the massage parlours, and people are coming knocking on their back door where the daycare is. We don't need that, we don't need that kind of harassment."

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Coun. Ben Henderson says there's little the city can do to control the opening of massage parlours. ((CBC))

The business district is in the ward represented by Coun. Ben Henderson. He said he sympathizes, but there's little the city alone can do.

"What people don't understand is, what's going on in these massage parlours is perfectly legal, under federal law."

Henderson said he would arrange for the civic departments involved to hold a meeting in the neighbourhood, but any long-term solution would involve governments right up to the federal level.

"The trouble is, how do you distinguish between the legitimate massage operation and the illegitimate massage operation? You need the legal framework to be able to do that."

"We can make moral judgments all we want, but you actually can't impose a moral judgment if it's illegal to impose that moral judgment."

City officials can't make moral judgments, but Nolan says people who might shop in the 124th Street area do.

 "Life is perception," she said. "You see an adult video store, you see pawn shops, people turn away from that area."