Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti argues there should be no all-ages dance parties at Exhibition Place due to its proximity to Parkdale, a neighbourhood he calls a "pedophile district."
Mammoliti is weighing in on a controversial decision to ban the dance events from Exhibition Place grounds. The councillor sits on the board of governors of the public events complex.
The board voted to bar the all-ages parties after Zlatko Starkovski, the owner of Muzik nightclub, which is also on Exhibition grounds, suggested the all-ages parties will attract pedophiles.
Mammoliti expanded on that fear by saying in a letter to media that Parkdale has one of the higher concentration of pedophiles in the city and allowing all-ages parties south of the neighbourhood puts "children as young as 9 or 10" in danger.
"With all ages parties being held next to a pedophile district we are simply encouraging the continued abuse of our children," he wrote in a letter. "Given the rampant alcohol and illicit drug use and poor security, our children can fall victim to peer pressure participating in these activities or becoming victimized at the hands of current and past pedophiles. It is a disaster waiting to happen."
The area around Parkdale has 164.1 registered sex offenders per 100,000 people, with 58 recorded in the area, according to data from the province. That is the third highest rate in the city.
Mammoliti also questions the motivations of the area's councillor, Gord Perks, who supports the all-ages events. "Who are you really representing?" asks Mammoliti. "This is about much more than a dance party."
Perks sent out a statement regarding "the awful slur one of my colleagues has made against our wonderful neighbourhood." He did not mention Mammoliti’s name.
The councillor said he was "saddened" by Mammoliti’s claims about Parkdale, a part of the city that he said is admired by people across Toronto.
"Many of my colleagues have already contacted me to see how they can help stand up for our great neighbourhood," Perks said. "You may be hearing from some of them in the media. Rest assured this attack comes from one irresponsible voice."