Langley City to limit 'nuisance' businesses in shopping centre
Does Langley City have any business banning arcades from a portion of the municipality, when it reaps the financial rewards of a casino to the tune of nearly $6 million a year?
Does it, in fact, have the right to dictate what types of businesses are suitable at all?
These were among the questions Councillor Dave Hall posed on Monday, March 5 as council gave first and second reading to a bylaw prohibiting certain types of so-called “nuisance” businesses from opening inside the City’s portion of Willowbrook Shopping Centre, which straddles the City-Township border.
Among the businesses singled out are: adult entertainment stores, adult theatres, adult video stores, arcades, body rub parlours, cheque cashing establishments, currency exchanges, escort services, exotic entertainment, money lending establishments and pawn brokers.
The bylaw also prohibits the use of any premises for selling, distributing or producing marijuana (except as permitted under federal law) or the dispensation of methadone or heroin, except under the supervision of Fraser Health Authority.
The changes come in the wake of new case law in B.C., explained City CAO Francis Cheung, and are intended to concentrate these types of businesses into one area.
However, even in areas of the City where such businesses currently exist, if one was to leave and another, similar, business did not moved onto the site within six months, the City can then prohibit another such business from opening there.
“I’m afraid of becoming the morality police,” Hall said, before casting the lone vote against the bylaw.
“I agree some of these are nuisance activities, but that’s my opinion. Is an arcade more objectionable than a (casino)?
“How hypocritical is it of the City to say we’re willing to take all sorts of revenue from a casino?”
Currently, none of the types of businesses outlined in the bylaw are operating in Willowbrook. Had there been any, they would be grandfathered and permitted to remain, said Mayor Peter Fassbender.