REGINA - A packed public gallery gave a standing ovation when Regina city councillors voted to reject a proposal for the city's first strip club.
Council voted nine to one Monday night against an application from Edmonton businessman Bryon Gottfredsen to set up a club in a former bar.
The concept had previously been approved by the city's planning commission, following changes to provincial liquor laws.
Concerned citizens, members of church groups, a lawyer and even a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club were among those who spoke against the application.
Shawn Fraser was the only councillor who voted for approval, saying they were dealing with a legal application.
Mayor Michael Fougere says council made the right decision.
Richard Lepp, who spent 27 years as a police officer in Saskatoon, spoke against the proposal. He said strip clubs bring with them the possibility of organized crime and human trafficking.
"My experience as a police officer in Saskatoon was that many of the women employed in these venues were managed, controlled, contract spot-and-sold by national networks," he said.
David Lee, a defensive end with the Roughriders, echoed Lepp's feelings.
"I'm strongly opposed to the commercial sexual use of women. Strip clubs often serve as a gateway into prostitution and human trafficking."
Another delegate, Emmanuel Sanchez, said "We need to be shown that women and men are not objects of sex."
Pastor Rick Parkyn said a strip club would do nothing to enhance the reputation and culture of Regina.
"I believe that this kind of proposed adult entertainment will open a Pandora's Box of undesirable activities," he told council.
Gottfredsen said after the meeting that he's disappointed with the outcome.
"I see it as a vocal minority, the people who showed up here today. I think that's why city council was forced to vote it down because nobody in favour stood up to say 'yes, let’s do it.' Maybe Regina just isn't ready for that style of entertainment."
Fraser said if anyone looks in the phone book or online they can likely find strippers.
"It shouldn't be a secret that this industry exists. We're not the gatekeepers to this happening in Regina," he said.
"I think this represents the general attitude of Regina residents because we had very few people say they wanted us to proceed with it," said the mayor.
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