Credits: STEVENS LEBLANC/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC/QMI AGENCY
A city committee voted Wednesday to amend a new bylaw that allows the city's 38 "body rub" centres to no longer operate 24 hours a day.
In November 2011, the city implemented new laws that allowed licensed body rub centres to provide around the clock service.
The new amendment would return operating hours back to the original 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. window.
Acting police Supt. Stewart Callioux made a presentation to city councillors Wednesday, asking for a return to the restricted hours.
"A lot of men that seek out that service often do so when they have alcohol in their system," Callioux said.
"Therefore, if there are 24-hour operations of body rub centres and men know they're out there, obviously it makes sense that they're going to be seeking those at all hours of the day."
With around-the-clock service comes more crime, cops say.
Callioux said the body rub services are paid for largely with cash, meaning thieves looking for an easy target find what they're after at body rub centres.
"When we have limited resources to address concerns such as sexual abuse, robberies, exploitation of children and women, (and) human trafficking, it's pretty hard to deal with those issues," Callioux said.
Previous changes to the laws on body rub centres forces employers to have at least two people working at the same time in an effort to curtail abuse or other forms of crime.
That doesn't sit well with an Edmonton activist.
"For any business to be opened 24-7 you need to recruit people to be there," said Kate Quinn, director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE.)
"What we're actually doing is opening up a market to have more people working at the centres."
In March, council voted on proposed zoning laws that would move body rub centres at least 300 metres away from schools and places frequented by children. That's the same distance liquor stores adhere to.
Whenever body rub centre restrictions surface, council -- including Mayor Stephen Mandel -- and city administration warn that too many rules and regulations could "drive the industry underground."
Quinn says the industry is already underground.
"It's not about the city making it easier for centres to open up, get licenses or for people to get into the business. It's about making it easier for people to get out," she said.
Quinn's organization lobbied for just a 12-hour operation window, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. However, she's still happy to see any shift towards hour restrictions.
A lack of adequate police resources also play a large part in keeping crime in check surrounding body rub parlours -- something Callioux believes restricted hours would help.
The proposed hour restrictions will be up for council's approval in July.