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Re-zoning raises eyebrows, flagpoles of concern

The end of the OCR will be where any businessperson interested in opening an erotic service in Chateauguay will have to go after a rezoning announcement in January. (Jessica Deer, The Eastern Door)

After new Chateauguay mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier announce a rezoning policy in January, it seems anyone interested in operating a business in the erotic services industry will have to do so next to the St. Bernard Water Filtration Plant.

Routhier explained the reasons for the zoning change to The Eastern Door this week, as the zone in question directly borders Kahnawake at the end of the Old Chateauguay Road.

In all municipalities, zones, including industrial, residential, commercial and others, are required. Having a zone for strip clubs, erotic massage parlours and other legal sensual businesses is necessary unless the city wants to challenge the Canadian Criminal Code.

“We have to delimit what type of activities we want in what sector in town. That kind of activity, which is anything related to erotic, has to be placed somewhere because we cannot forbid anything in town,” said Routhier

“In order to forbid, you need to be able to act as an officer that will declare a criminal enterprise, and it’s only the federal government that can declare something to be criminal, so we cannot forbid anything, but we can limit it to where it can be done.”

Having the zone in a tranquil rural area limits the lure of setting up shop there for Routhier.

“Do you think that it is a convenient thing for such a business as that?” said Routhier with a laugh. “Don’t worry. We have no businesses asking to go in there. We have nothing at all at this point.”

The erotic zone was previously in the industrial park portion of Chateauguay, but Routhier would like the industrial region to be strictly for industrial enterprises.

The Boutique Erotique Sex Cetera and Sexie Fantaisie are located on Boulevard St. Jean Baptiste in Chateauguay and sell erotic paraphernalia, but they, Routhier explained, fall under a different classification of business.

“That’s what we call a trade,” said Routhier. “They are selling things that definitely have a sexual connotation, but it’s not like a massage or dance parlour. We’re talking commercial activities. We’re not talking about a trade in things.”

Massage Fraskes is next door to Erotique Sex Cetera, and seems to offer a type of erotic massage. It is closed, however, with a sign saying the closure is temporary and that it would re-open soon. No date was given on a handwritten note on the door or on the company’s answering service message.

Morgan Dell runs The Barn, an antique store at the end of the OCR in Kahnawake, and was clear that she would be incredibly displeased should an erotic service business open a stone’s throw away from her shop.

“I would not want that in my area,” she said. “I have young children and it’s considered farmland. It’s a quiet, peaceful area.”

It would not be convenient to open a business in the area for another reason.

Any business that wanted to open in the area would need to construct a standalone building, as there are no existing commercial spaces in that area. Routhier does not foresee the area becoming a destination for erotic businesses.

“They shouldn’t be worried because I don’t know who would set up in that area, and after the set up, I don’t know who would be pleased to go in that area,” said Routhier.

The fact that the zone in question, like many others in the municipality, borders Kahnawake, is something the mayor is cognizant of.

“Chateauguay and the reserve are close by in every way… We have to live together, that’s fact,” he said.

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