Sex makes the world go round, but according to several residents of an Etobicoke neighbourhood, it’s not doing a whole lot for their neck of the woods.
The proliferation of so-called “swingers clubs,” private establishments where consenting adults explore their and other people’s partners, has locals calling for changes to the zoning legislation.
Among the spots in the Kipling and Lakeshore area are Club Hers and Menage A Quatre. Nearby, a longtime country-western bar turned strip club named Jay-Jay’s has also come under fire recently.
“I want to get them out,” Etobicoke-Lakeshore Coun. Mark Grimes stated Wednesday. “I certainly don’t want them in my ward and my community does not want them.”
For the most part, that appears to be the case. The innocuous-looking storefront that leads to Menage A Quatre hasn’t gone unnoticed by many in the area, who charge it, and clubs like it, bring an unsavory vibe to the neighbourhood.
Hundreds already took to the street in May to protest the re-opening of Jay-Jay’s as an adult establishment. Some 2,000 others signed a petition to express their displeasure, charging zoning loopholes are allowing such places to operate.
“This is not what we want the area to become,” claims area resident Scott Waddell. “We think they need to be zoned outside of residential areas and there’s droves of people that I think agree with this.”
Menage A Quatre owner Richard Polara was understandably quick to defend his place. “We bring in young, elegant, affluent, beautiful people to our club and I think it’s an asset to Etobicoke,” he argued. “Consenting adults can do what they want to do.”
The neighbourhood’s streets weren’t completely void of people who tended to agree.
“It’s not causing any problems. They should deal with all the rest of the problems around here,” insisted local Lori-Ann Houston. “The crack dealers and the prostitution.”
Where it matters though, at City Hall, most of council appears to agree with Grimes. They voted on Tuesday to look for ways to close such clubs down or at least have them relocated, which might yield similar results.