To John Fyfe-Millar, it just doesn’t add up.
The Ward 13 London city councillor is skeptical that an application to re-locate an adult parlour entertainment licence to Lavish nightclub on Dundas Place is really about letting the club stage more risqué burlesque shows.
Lavish, on Dundas near Clarence, is well-known as a safe space for LGBTQ+ clients.
The club has applied to transfer an existing live adult parlour entertainment licence to Lavish’s location at 238 Dundas St., near Clarence.
But Fyfe-Millar is concerned that if such a licence becomes attached to 238 Dundas St., it will clear the way to allow a more traditional strip club there if ownership should change in the future.
“They’re asking us to treat it differently, and we can’t,” said Fyfe-Milar. “At the end of the day, it’s an adult entertainment licence. Should Lavish close down, we now have a licence within a bricks and mortar location that can now become an adult entertainment facility.”
Kelly Roy does bookings for Lavish and spoke to CBC News in response to calls for comment to owner Zoltan Harasty.
Licence ‘gives us freedom’
Roy said the licence change would allow Lavish to stage more provocative live entertainment. She said the change is needed to help the club continue to attract a strong following in a business environment still recovering from COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns.
“We had burlesque at one time but had to be very strict in what we could and couldn’t do,” she told CBC News. “So this licence gives us that freedom.”
Roy also said Lavish’s licence relocation application has been clouded by a separate application to have a body rub parlour six doors over at 232 Dundas St. Roy said that application has nothing to do with Lavish. The application listed on the 232 Dundas St. application is a numbered company.
However, Roy would not name who’s behind the company listed on the application for Lavish, which is listed in documents filed with the city as “Paris Clubs Corporation.”
The Lavish application would re-locate a live adult entertainment licence from an address at Dundas Street East now operating as a hotel. The body-rub application for 232 Dundas St. is currently tied to 802 Exeter Rd., an existing massage parlour called Ambience Spa.
Both applications are set to come before the city’s community and protective services committee on Tuesday.
And while he doesn’t want to guess at the votes of other councillors, Fyfe-Millar doesn’t expect either application to get much support.
He said attaching two adult-themed business licences to addresses on a block that already has a strip club, is a recipe for trouble.
“You would end up with organizations in the same industry who compete very hard with each other to fill that void,” he said. “And to have them directly across the street … would not create a healthy environment in that block.”
Fyfe-Millar is also skeptical that such a licence is needed to stage adult-themed entertainment at Lavish to avoid enforcement actions from the city’s bylaw officers.
The city has received correspondence from businesses and residents opposed to moving both licences to Dundas Place, including a letter from the London Abused Women’s Centre.
“The demand for paid sexual services fuels the growth of trafficking and exploitation of our most vulnerable populations,” writes executive director Jennifer Dunn.