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Council bans exotic dancing

10-year-old proposed bylaw adopted Tuesday afternoon



As of Tuesday afternoon, exotic dancing is prohibited in all Whistler night clubs.

Without any discussion at a special council meeting in municipal hall, Whistler Council unanimously voted to adopt a 10-year-old proposed bylaw that forbids exotic dancing in any liquor establishments within the municipal boundaries.

The bylaw is effective immediately.

"We received a call from the liquor licensing branch essentially to the effect that one of the local nightclubs had made an inquiry into what would be required to add exotic dancing to the license to provide that type of entertainment," explained Mayor Ken Melamed after the meeting when asked what prompted council to move ahead with the decade-old bylaw.

"It was decided that it was in the best interest of the community to adopt the bylaw as had been directed by the council of 1996, when it started, and was furthered by the council of 1999, which got it to the point that it was at today."

Melamed added with the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, now is not the time to be experimenting with non-historical uses in the village.

Exotic dancing is defined as any dancing in which the pubic area, genitals, nipples or areola of the dancer is exposed to the view of another person, according to the bylaw.

Michele Comeau, manager of communications for the municipality, confirmed that private exotic dancing or wet T-shirt contests would not contravene the bylaw.

Tommy Africa's "So you think you can strip" male exotic dancing contest held last week, on the other hand, may be restricted by the new regulations. According to Comeau, Tommy's would be allowed to advertise the contest and stripping could occur as long as certain body parts are not exposed.

The bylaw does not distinguish between amateurs and professionals.

"We cannot stop it directly, but we can choose to issue a bylaw contravention, seek a court's injunction or bring forth proceedings for consideration of business license revocation or suspension," she said.

The exotic dancing control bylaw received first three readings on March 15, 1999 from a previous council. Melamed said the reason it was never adopted is because the bylaw got buried under the municipality's list of unfinished business.

When the bylaw was first drafted, The Boot Pub, located north of the village, regularly showcased exotic dancing at an event known as Das Boot Ballet.

The mayor added the original intention of this bylaw was to recognize Das Boot Ballet performances, but now that The Boot is closed, it is no longer an issue.

Two other bylaws that restrict exotic dancing also received first three readings nine years ago. However, Melamed clarified that the intent of those two bylaws is covered by the bylaw adopted this week and council has no plans to adopt those bylaws in the near future.

Exotic dancing is already not permitted in food primary licenses, based on provincial licensing regulations.

The special council meeting was advertised on Monday at 12:30 p.m. on the municipality's website, 24 hours before the meeting was held at Flute Room in municipal hall.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler was absent.