Volume 92, Issue 36
Friday, November 6, 1998
bigger than the post
New meaning to revitalization
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By Christina Vardanis
The revitalization of downtown London has begun, but not quite the way London's city council had envisioned.
An adult video store, which is modelled after peep-show establishments, has opened in the centre of the downtown core on Dundas St., near Richmond St.. Adult Video X opened on Tuesday, selling videos, magazines and novelty items and it is equipped with private booths and communal rooms in which its patrons can watch X-rated movies.
The business, the first of its kind in London, goes so far as to include boxes of tissue in the viewing rooms.
With the recent attention surrounding the importance of revitalizing the downtown area, Adult Video X's reception has not exactly been a welcome one.
"When I said come to downtown London, I didn't mean it literally," said Ward 5 Coun. Cheryl Miller. Although the building is leased and under legislation, she added there is not much city council can do, because without live performers, the business doesn't technically fall under the category of adult entertainment.
"We don't know how close it is, but it's worth looking into," she said. Miller had no qualms about voicing her distaste with the business. "The tissues are probably single-ply. One blow and it's all over your shorts," she continued.
Sgt. O'Flaherty of the London police confirmed Adult Video X is not breaking any law, but said they would be monitoring the business with undercover vice officers.
"We look for porn, child porn and snuff films," O'Flaherty said, of what constitutes police intervention. He also stressed a concern over developers allowing these types of businesses to take over. "If the developers in the city don't do anything about it, we're going to have [Toronto's] Yonge St. in London."
A bylaw which would have prohibited such an establishment from settling in the downtown core was struck down recently, as the courts deemed it was not up to the city to regulate morality.
However, Miller said the problem surrounding the establishment is two-fold, concerning both morality and bad business sense. "I think it's an absolute misuse of a main street in the downtown," she said.
Miller also stressed the store, which was renovated without a building permit, will be under the scrutiny of building bylaw enforcement officers. "We can put up obstacles," she said and suggested closet-type rooms may violate fire regulations.
Mayor Dianne Haskett expressed great concern over the opening of Adult Video X and said this kind of event called for a response from the entire community. "A public outcry would have a big impact on the owner and patrons in terms of a lack of community acceptance," she stated.
A man who identified himself only as Steve and claimed to be the general manager for all three existing Adult Video X stores, said the store was prepared to serve any and all types of clients. "There's not a typical demographic for this store. Our clients range from 18 to 75 years old."
He added despite the controversy surrounding the store's opening, they have a right to be there. "We are an entertainment establishment."
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Copyright © The Gazette 1998