NEWS

House of Lancaster shooting: residents want strip club to move

12/31/2014 12:32 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
A shooting outside the House of Lancaster early Tuesday has reheated a debate about land use on the Queensway, a busy west-end road where the notorious strip club and some massage parlous border quiet residential streets.

Just before 3 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to reports of gunshots outside the House of Lancaster, located on the Queensway near Royal York Road.

At the west end of the club's parking lot, police and paramedics found a man in his 20s with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to hospital in critical but stable condition.

Like many businesses on the Queensway, the House of Lancaster borders quiet streets with single-family houses where some residents have long been calling for the strip club to be re-located.

"It's shocking to have things like that happen on your doorstep," said Catherine George, a 30-year resident of the area and founder of the Queensway Residents Association. "These places shouldn't be licensed to operate so close to residential areas."

In addition to the House of Lancaster, George said by her estimation more than a dozen massage parlours are operating on the Queensway between Kipling and Royal York Road. The parlours are supposed to close at night, but she suspects they remain open as "back-door establishments."

George would like the House of Lancaster and the massage parlours moved to industrial areas where residents won't have to deal with the noise, traffic and occasional outbreaks of violence.

It's an idea Coun. Justin DiCiano touted during his election campaign for the Ward 5 council seat.

"The Queensway needs to be re-developed," said Di Ciano in an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Wednesday. Di Ciano, a new councillor first elected in October, said he's been encouraging some Queensway businesses to relocate.

"We're going to reach out to them," he said, "letting them known that residents are fed up but if they're willing to move away, I'm willing to help them get the proper licences to move to the industrial sectors of the ward."

George hopes operators of the House of Lancaster and the area's massage parlours take the hint and relocate.

In the meantime she'd like to see an increased police presence and more surveillance cameras operating in the area.

"A life is much more costly than putting up more surveillance," she said.

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