Wednesday, November 18, 2009

There be Strippers Oh My

Dear Lake Shore Etobicoke Residents,

This is the last update email regarding the Licensing of the new Klub Kave strip club and Jaxx strip club at Lakeshore and Fourth.

After more than a year of concerted effort, to pursue this any further with the City will be an exercise in futility. As local residents, we cannot pursue this any further. A number of residents have devoted significant time and effort to this issue but we are seemingly being stonewalled at every turn.

The following quote in the Guardian from the owner of Jay Jay's best sums up the situation:
" If they're saying I'm operating without a proper licence, fine, I make these guys work for me. It's just a matter of bureaucracy. They're not going to stop me from having my dancers downstairs." - Jack Cohen, Owner of Jay Jay's

It seems an understatement that he "makes these guys work for him." After charging the new strip club for operating without a license (while being run by a different operator), the City has "rectified" the problem by shuffling paperwork and having the owner of Jay Jay's assume operation of the new Klub Kave.

You will find the details of this here

Thousands of area residents have signed petitions, contacted city officials and our Councillors office. While many in public office expressed empathy, no-one stepped up to see this license challenged based on facts and an expert legal opinion.

This has never been a battle about strip clubs, moral issues, or about the owner of the cub - but simply about the location of the club outside of the zoning by-laws and a review of the licensing process that revealed it was a new license that was approved which contravenes zoning and is not what the community was original told by the City..

On this matter, the final word is yours - feel free to write to your elected officials or share your opinions here.

As fellow taxpayers, we encourage you to read the summary at the bottom of this email of the entire infuriating and absurd process of bureaucratic (in)action.

In closing. . . .

We are giving up on this issue but not on New Toronto. Through this we have seen a high degree of interaction and engagement amongst local residents. We have gotten to know one another better and there is true strength in the knowledge that we live in a neighbourhood where people care.

Initiatives like "Shop The Shore" have resulted from the online community. We are going to continue working on new things that contribute to community development and hope you will stay engaged, share your ideas and participate in the process.
Residents For Residents

BACK GROUND Summary of Jay Jay's / Klub Kave licensing issues

1. After being charged for operating without a license, the new Klub Kave can change their paperwork and continue to operate
The details are in these articles:

Klub Kave was started by a different operator than the owner of Jaxx or Jay Jay's. Apparently, the one licence per business concept doesn’t apply in the Lakeshore and the City is satisfied if the owner of Jay Jay's draws up new paperwork to be listed as the "operator" of Klub Kave.

2. RE: #1 above - No-one seems to want to discuss Councillor Grimes motion to stop new strip clubs from opening in the area
Last year, City Council passed a motion by Councillor Grimes that directed the City to do everything possible to stop new sleeper license strip clubs from opening in this community.

Common sense would dictate if there was ever a case for following through on this motion it would be a strip club that is open and being charged for operating without a license.

There has been absolutely no mention about this motion and no-one seems to want to talk about this motion.

3. Klub Kave Liquor license
The ACGO has reviewed the liquor licenses involved for Klub Kave and determined that "Jay Jays" has a liquor license that covers the property - which includes Klub Kave. The fact that the new club is a different business with a different operator is apparently a hole in the system where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Business licensing is a city issue (and there was no business license while it was run by a different operator) but liquor licensing is a provincial issue.

The ACGO cleared this license at a time when Klub Kave was being run by a different operator than the owner of Jay Jay's and being charged by the City for operating without a license. Considering how scrupulously the province enforces alcohol-related legislation, it seems odd that this was not enough cause for the inspector to at least suspend alcohol service while the municipal issue was addressed.

4. Summary of the City's information about the initial license approval

Perhaps the most absurd aspect of all is related to the actual validity of the initial license application.

(this next paragraph sums it up and is worth trying to understand!)

The first license was granted because it was a license renewal (Information from Councillor Grimes), however if a restaurant had applied for the license it would be a different story (Curtis Sealock, MLS) but because the community revealed it was actually a new application and not a renewal (Community) then we meant to say the license was not a renewal but granted because there is an existing restaurant license (City Lawyers - after reviewing information from the community) .

The full details of this are here

5. Municipal Licensing handling of the initial application and "rushing to judgment"
Recently, Curtis Sealock a manager of Municipal Licensing stated with regards to Klub Kave that "I know the community is upset. But the thing you never want to do is rush to judgment."

Ironcially, the problem lies in that MLS seemingly rushed to judgement in granting the initial license. After a thorough review (including legal opinion) of the initial license, it seems the initial application slid through the licensing process with very little due dilligence. Mr Sealock himself was involved in communications about this original application. His office did not advise the Councillor’s office about the application and more importantly, there was nothing in the license review paperwork that even remotely lines up with the final explanation put forward by the City to defend issuing the original license (see #4 above)

Mr. Sealock can rest assured that we are not about to accuse his department of rushing on anything since the issuance of the initial license. It has taken weeks at a time to get any response from MLS or the City's Lawyers on licenses that were granted without almost batting an eye.

The community would be well served if senior MLS officials had applied their media bravado about "due process" to the review of the initial license. To refer to residents’ consistently logical and well-researched arguments as simply a matter of a community that is “upset” is dismissive at best.
Share your opinions here


Add you comments. Do you think they should be allowed in such close proximity to residential units? Did you participate in the survey and petitions?

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