London councillor still hopeful strip club can be foiled

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The future of a controversial adult entertainment site in east London is still up in the air, and becoming more confusing.

It’s a complex tale of applications, bylaws and loopholes.

A body rub parlour won’t be allowed at 2190 Dundas St., thanks to an automatic bylaw change that eliminated the licence when it lapsed in 2016. But the same fix wasn’t applied to the strip club licence, which the owner of the site has said he intends to open by the end of the summer.

“I think the confusing part, from a public perspective, is that there are two . . . separate adult-type licences — one’s a strip club and one’s a body rub — and it’s one property,” said chief bylaw officer Orest Katolyk. It’s the same site where the former Famous Flesh Gordon’s used to stand.

So, is it yes to the strip club, no to the body rub parlour?

It’s not quite so simple.

The body rub parlour was rejected because of a rule that allows the total number of licences to be reduced, from seven down to five, as business with those licences decide not to renew them, or they’re revoked. Though London previously licensed seven body rub parlours, that was slashed to six in early 2016.

But the city can’t reject the application for the strip club in the same way, because there’s an open licence — one of four strip club licences in London — that can be issued.

Coun. Bill Armstrong — whose ward includes 2190 Dundas St. — lambasted city staff at a July council meeting for failing to notify politicians of the option to reduce strip club licences when it was possible, in 2016.

Owner George Nikopoulos, who is renovating the site as he prepares to open Touché Spa, applied for both licences months ago.

Residents are opposed to both, and Armstrong said he’s collected more than 500 signatures on a petition urging the city to shut down the planned adult entertainment venue. He’s happy that at least the body rub parlour has been rejected.

“I think the community will be relieved to see that that’s happened,” he said.

Armstrong is holding out hope politicians and staff can find a way to eliminate the strip club licence, too. But Katolyk previously told a council committee that the city will be obligated to issue the licence, as long as Nikopoulos’s work passes inspection. There’s an open strip club licence — three out of four are currently claimed in London — that was not deleted when the site sat vacant and the option was there.

“I would have thought both of them would be happening at the same time,” Armstrong said of the adult entertainment licences. “But there are two trains coming down the track . . . one is being derailed, and hopefully the other one will be dealt with.”

He’s confident that a last-minute fix might be possible.

“Hopefully we will make the right decision for the community.”

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