Saskatoon red-light district debate postponed
Saskatoon city councillors have put off debate on whether to proceed with debate on introducing red-light districts for the sex trade.
Councillors agreed on Monday evening to postpone advertising of public hearings on the issue until they look at what other jurisdictions have done.
If council had given the green light to further debate, a public hearing would have been scheduled in June or July.
Some, including Coun. Pat Lorje, argued that more time was needed to consider the issue and conduct some research.
"We need to look and see what are the best practices in other jurisdictions. What works, what doesn't work?" Lorje said.
"We need to hear from our police chief about this matter."
Council passed the Adult Services Licensing Bylaw in March, giving police new powers to better regulate the sex trade, including escort businesses and massage parlours.
But the new bylaw does not cover zoning issues, so council must look at defining how adult-service businesses should be zoned in the city.
Jordon Cooper, who runs the Lighthouse, a downtown residence for people on the margins of society, said he has two perspectives on the red-light district issue.
On the one hand, Cooper said nearly every woman who comes to the Lighthouse has been in the sex trade at some point, and he would like to address that problem at its roots.
On the other hand, he said he would like to rid his own neighbourhood, Mayfair, of prostitution.
"The massage parlours attract johns, johns attract more street workers," Cooper said.
"It's to the point where we've got neighbours that are afraid to let their kids play in their yards."
Cooper said he would welcome a public debate on establishing red-light districts in the city.