Brothel fixation raises predictable response
Christchurch City Council is vexed about brothel signage.
Residents have been reminded once again by council communications staff that they had time to make submissions on a proposed bylaw.
Staff have also helpfully drawn up maps to show where brothels are allowed in commercial areas of the city.
This has prompted a community response in Lyttelton, where seamen and working women were a relatively common sight in various streets and bars pre-earthquakes.
But the council maps have raised the ire of a local community newspaper.
“In effect, should a brothel choose to open next door to the Lyttelton library, the hairdressers, the supermarket, or next to your favourite cafe spot – then they will be fully entitled to do so," it said.
"No longer restricted to being first-floor businesses, brothels can establish on the street level if they so desire,” the paper said.
“Imagine walking down London Street and being greeted with the littering of exotic signage, or men standing in door entrances offering the passerby an escape to Venus experience.
"Is this the post-quake future of Lyttelton we had all envisioned?”
A council committee has held numerous meetings over the past year on the matter, and several staff have written lengthy reports.
The last 30-page council staff report pointed out that no one had actually complained about signage.
But the report by policy analyst Mel Renganathan says it may become a potential problem because most central city brothel premises were destroyed and operators might try to set up in other areas.
A proposed bylaw requiring formal consultation with the community aims to regulate signs so they are not offensive; do not display any pictorial image; do not exceed 0.3sq m in surface area; and not be illuminated by any flashing light.
The council is holding drop-in sessions where members of the public can view the proposed bylaw ask questions to staff and make a submission.
Public consultation on the council's proposed Brothels (Location and Commercial Sexual Services Signage) bylaw closes at noon on July 10.