Saint John's Police Commission has notified city council it cannot use local bylaws to remove sex trade workers from the uptown area.
A letter from the commission to councillors notes that using traffic or sidewalk bylaws for such a purpose would not be "feasible, lawful or ethical."
In November, Ward 2 Coun. Susan Fullerton raised the idea and city council voted to ask the police to find ways to limit the sex trade.
When she heard of the police commission's letter on Wednesday, Fullerton said the situation with sex workers is "untenable."
She said she would have no further comment for the time being.
In November, Fullerton said the sex trade is hurting the city’s image.
She also pointed out that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani used similar tactics on squeegee kids and panhandlers.
About 50 people held a protest outside of Saint John’s city hall in November in protest to Fullerton’s idea.
Saint John has many bylaws already on its books that could be used to stymie the city’s sex trade.
The city has a bylaw prohibiting people from selling anything on the sidewalk without permission and from conducting business with anyone in a motor vehicle.