Paradise pole-arized over business

A woman in Paradise wants to offer private pole dancing classes at her home, but the town of Paradise is refusing to issue her a permit — citing traffic and parking concerns.

Woman suspects her home-based business permit rejected for moral reasons

A woman seeking to set up a pole-dancing fitness course has run into trouble from Paradise town council, Amy Stoodley reports 2:17

A woman in Paradise wants to offer private pole dancing classes at her home, but the town of Paradise is refusing to issue her a permit — citing traffic and parking concerns.  

Pole Dancing for Fitness owner Lisa Woolgar has more than 100 people signed up for one-on-one pole dancing lessons in her home studio.

"I wonder if this is discriminatory," mused Woolgar. "I'd like to ask if this application had been for a weight training facility, would that have been turned down."

Pole dancing strictly for fitness

Woolgar said many people associate pole dancing with strip clubs and other seedy businesses, but she emphasized that her operation is strictly for fitness.

"There's nothing to do with people paying to watch or women taking off their clothes," said Woolgar. 

"Women of all ages, 30s, 40s, 50s, women come in here, they have such a good time. It's a great workout and it's something fun. It's no different than a dancer uses her bar, a gymnast uses the uneven bars or the beam."

Decision based on traffic

Paradise mayor Ralph Wiseman said the town's decision wasn't a moral judgment, but simply a decision based on traffic. 

Ralph Wiseman is the mayor of Paradise. (CBC)

"We don't legislate morality here. Whatever is done in the walls has to be done legitimately in accordance with the provincial laws," said Wiseman. "In this particular case, the overriding factor was the traffic condition in the area."

But Woolgar said she already had a permit to operate a hair salon out of her home, and the town has never had a problem with traffic and parking associated with that business or with many other home based businesses in Paradise. 

"There's plenty of people doing private lessons, whether it be yoga or dancing, zumba, these types of classes are all over the community," Woolgar said.

Commercial space scarce

Wiseman said if Woolgar wants to find a commercial space for her pole dancing business, the town will reconsider her application. 

But Woolgar said most of the new developments in Paradise are residential, and commercial space is hard to find. 

She said if the town doesn't change its mind on her application, she will have to search for an alternative location for her business or give her customers refunds.

"I thought this town was more progressive than that," said Woolgar.