Ottawa

Cornwall city councillor says it's game over for arcade ban

A bylaw from the early 1990s no longer makes sense and needs to go, says one city councillor.

City introduced arcade ban in 1992 over fears they supported teenage drug use

A bylaw from 1992 banned stand-alone arcades in the city of Cornwall, Ont. (Short Circuit)

A bylaw that declared "game over" for arcades in Cornwall, Ont., no longer makes sense and needs to go, says one city councillor.

In 1992, local politicians were concerned about teen recreational drug use in the city and believed arcades were to blame, city councillor Justin Towndale told CBC Radio's All in a Day Tuesday. 

That led city council to ban new, stand-alone arcades, limiting them to malls and hotels.

The bylaw also forced bowling alleys and pool halls with four or more arcade consoles to apply for an exemption.

"Teens were going [to arcades] … They were concerned that the dealers were going there as well," he said.

Justin Towndale, a Cornwall, Ont. city councillor, says the city is trying to attract remote workers. (Supplied by Justin Towndale)

Towndale tabled a motion at Tuesday's city council meeting, saying it's time to revisit the bylaw.

Council voted "yes" to taking a fresh look at the ban, but now a formal process will have to be followed, which includes public consultations. 

Should it be 'game over' for Cornwall's ban on stand-alone arcades? We talk to a city councillor who thinks so. 8:05

Towndale said he loved visiting arcades as a teenager and believes they present a business opportunity for people in the city.

"They're making a comeback, there's a resurgence of them … There's a viable business here and we're preventing people from opening businesses in the community," he said.

He pointed to an example of a local man who wants to open a video game museum in Cornwall, complete with video game consoles, but can't because of the current bylaw.

With files from CBC Radio's All In A Day

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