Adult entertainment bylaw gets reviewed

First published: January 31, 2005

A bylaw governing live strip shows, sale of porn magazines and videos will be reviewed by the police services board, Cobourg council decided Monday night.

The review will look at whether the sale of pornographic magazines and videos should be licenced or not, following a complaint from the owner of an adult entertainment shop. The store, located in the north end, is the only licenced establishment in town to sell adult print and videos, yet there are many variety stores and video outlets that sell adult-oriented material, said town clerk Rick Stinson.

Under the town’s current bylaw, written in 1991, all providers of adult entertainment must be licenced, including live shows or magazines or videos. The bylaw was introduced by the police services board, and it is the responsibility of the police to enforce the licencing requirement.

But, Robert Holdsworth, who owns an adult bookstore on Division Street, north of Elgin Street, wrote council last week complaining the bylaw is being unfairly enforced.

Following a review by town staff, it was decided the police services board should review the 14-year old legislation. The suggestion is to divide the bylaw into two parts: one dealing with live entertainment and the other to deal with printed material and videos. Live strips shows would remain licenced, while the magazines and movies would be regulated with some kinds of guidelines on display and restriction of sale to minors.

Councillor Pam Jackson said she understood there was a need to revisit the bylaw, but hoped it would not open any floodgates to people looking to sell this material.
“We don’t have many and I would like to keep it that way,” she told council.

Councillor Lloyd Williams, who is responsible for the bylaw, said the bylaw would not eliminate pornographic material, but it would regulate the accessibility and visibility of this material to the public.

While not required, Williams said he would be inclined to hold a public meeting on the issue before any bylaw received final approval.

The police services board will begin the review process at its next meeting on Feb. 17.

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