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REPORTING · 15th January 2013
Walter McFarlane
On December 14th, the District of Kitimat got a proposal for business they were not expecting. An escort service applied to open up shop in Kitimat. In a memo to Council, Deputy Treasurer Lyle McNish explained the Community Code does not include any definitions or directions related to this type of business.

For the purposes of discussion, a draft showing an update to the municipal code was drawn up for Council. The draft bylaw would allow for an escort service provided they meet strict guidelines and not engage in prostitution or human trafficking.

A part of the guidelines involves informing the RCMP of the workers ages, descriptions as well as details about who their clients are and where they will be going. They also cannot employ anyone under the age of 19.

The Business License came up at the Committee of the Whole on Monday, January 14th. It took a few seconds for Councillor Mario Feldhoff to put his arm into the air to make the motion, to move the recommendation: to receive the draft amendment for information. The motion was called and carried prior to discussion.

“We had a formal inquiry made and the follow up was a request for the inquiry to be made in writing so the follow up was a formal inquiry,” said Deputy Treasurer, Lyle McNish.

He expressed some new information had come to light. Originally, the person who made the inquiry was going to set up an office in Kitimat. However, since the report was drawn up, the two who made the inquiry decided it would be prudent to have a call centre where people could call into in Prince George.

“The call centre would act as a dispatch and dispatch… the clients to meet up with the escorts at whatever location had been pre-determined in the request,” said McNish.

He contacted other communities which offered escort services which included the Regional District of the Northern Rockies, where Fort Nelson is. McNish Explained they had a similar situation where an escort service made an inquiry. They decided to go through the steps and get a legal opinion as to whether they should or should not create a bylaw and allow the business to happen.

“What we found with discussing it with them as well as the other research that we did with the community charter and the charter of rights is essentially, if a business is found to be lawful and, at this point and time, an escort service is deemed to be lawful until such time as it has an illegal activity, it’s deemed to be lawful,” said McNish.

He expressed they could regulate a lawful business but they could not prohibit any lawful business. Because the business is legal, the Council does not have a reason to refuse such an application. It would require some amendments to the municipal code for such licencing because they do not have a business classification for an escort service.

McNish stated Terrace does not have an escort service in their community, although an escort service operating out of Prince George has advertised in the Newspapers published there. There were no Business License applications in Terrace however. Despite the inquirer and public hearings in Fort Nelson, no escort service was set up.

Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know how the Call Centre would work out of Prince George. Would the escort come to a house or a facility? McNish expressed the escort would have a location. The District is recommending the escort service provide the name, age, address, proof of names, ages to the Business License Inspector and Staff Sergeant of the RCMP. They would also ask they maintain a written record of every request and to provide the name and address of the person making the request for service with the name of the escort and the function to be attended. This way, the agency would be able to provide information that the arranged meeting is that of a ‘lawful’ nature.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff thanked McNish for bringing attention to those two clauses as any other business might find them intrusive. He pointed out an escort service was not prostitution. He wanted more information on the business licensing and needed to look into zoning. He also clarified they have no legal grounds to turn this down.

He was told they could regulate, just not prohibit. McNish Made Staff Sergeant Harrison aware of this request and pointed out there was a police officer who was attending the meeting and was going to report back. They were going to stay in touch with the RCMP on this issue.

Feldhoff asked for more information.

Councillor Edwin Empinado spoke up. “This is a very sensitive thing. I know you presented and made comments for us citing two things, the community charter and our District Bylaws and everything,” said Empinado. “We can regulate or we could refuse but the apparent thing is, there is no reason. […] We are basing only on the definition of what is an escort, regulated, legal, but of course, there are other things that could impact on this, […] public health, criminality of this, the exploitation of women and other things.”

He said there needed to be a point where the district could receive comments from the public so they could weigh the pros and cons.

Germuth wanted to know if a zoning bylaw would be required if the person was living in the community and being dispatched. Community Planner Gwen Sewell stated it would have to work with an office. She thought they should look into whether a personal service to either include or exclude this kind of personal service.

Germuth followed up: asking if having the call center in Prince George would have an effect on this. Sewell told him when they wrote the report, they were expecting them to have an office in Kitimat. This detail has changed though.

Councillor Rob Goffinet agreed with the ramifications to the proposal outlined by Empinado. He stated the community of Kitimat wanted to comment on this, noting there were members of the community in the gallery. He expected the community would have a lot to say about the proposal.

Goffinet wanted to know if Fort Nelson had the same proposal. McNish stated he believed it was a different party. There is however, an extensive legal opinion on the Regional Municipality of the Northern Rockies Website which answers the questions of public safety, health and zoning. There were a number of public hearings on this matter. At the end of the day, they decided to proceed.

McNish stated the regulations must be reasonable, as an example they could not limit where the escort could work. However, they could regulate the hours of operation, such as they could not operate between the hours of 4 am and 4pm, but not regulate the escort service down to an hour a day.

Goffinet suggested Council be given the legal opinion from Fort Nelson. He also wanted to know how they were operating in Terrace.

The legal opinion can be found here.

Councillor Corinne Scott wanted to know, as the business was being advertised in Terrace, operated out of Terrace and had a call center out of Prince George, would they require a business license to operate. She was told by administration the meeting of client and escort was taking place in Thornhill and thus, under the jurisdiction of the Regional District.

Scott followed up. She wanted to know who would inspect business licences. She was told it was the duty of the Deputy Treasurer and the Staff Sargent. They would report on that on when they apply and Council would have to determine whether it would be on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Murphy clarified. There had been an inquiry but they have not come forward. McNish replied all they had was a letter of intent of carrying on this business.

Germuth needed clarification as well, if they were trying to stop a business out of Prince George, it would be discriminatory. He wanted to know if Council could regulate it. McNish replied they could not stop a lawful business.

Goffinet wanted a briefing on the legal ramifications and the point of view as to why Fort Nelson did not get an escort service. He also said there is an appointment for Council to meet with the RCMP to talk about strategic matters concerning public safety.

Empinado wanted staff to come back to Council on how they could regulate the issue. McNish replied this was in addition to the amendments to the bylaw.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan needed to know if bringing back the information required another motion. She was told no. “You have an assignment,” said Monaghan. The meeting moved on.
Public Safety is Top Priority
Comment by TheGal on 19th January 2013
My concern is for the ladies but also the public. Being the "Gateway" to Highway 16 & two guys still on the lamb for attacking/seriously threatening women, is this a good idea? Also, who is running the operation. Is it an organized criminal element, which are renown for ruuning "Escorts" or is it legitimate. Kelowna has had a problem with their "escorts" and the agencies for transmitting STD's amongst their clientelle. The agency doesn't care as long as they make money and the girl doesnt have to use protection if she is going to make an extra couple hundred. Most men or "johns" are married and regardless, in a town with less than 30,000 people, std's travel a
hell of lot faster. Example is a town outside of Missisauga, Ontario where they had an HIV epidemic started from one person and travelled like wildfire. I personally don't care if they have one or not, I'm more concerned with public safety as a whole.
no names
Comment by outdoorsman on 18th January 2013
they do not have to give names to the dok or rcmp this is a miss print if you watched it they have to give names to the escort service so if something happends to there employee they can go to the rcmp last seen with this person not so everyone can see whos been seeing there employee's like i told my friends better to let them order there date then to have my wife ,daughter and or my friends life get messed up due to the lack of respect of some guy who is just looking for a hook up
Supply names to RCMP?
Comment by Chris Holahan on 17th January 2013
Do legal businesses supply names to RCMP? Well, some probably, yes, before even being employed. You'll know because the posting or the application will say 'must be able to pass criminal record check.' Then, too, a lot of volunteers have to go through the check, such as Boy Scout leaders and hockey coaches.
Safety First!
Comment by Female in her early 30s on 17th January 2013
As we all know, these operations have been around for many many years. Richmond requires registration of their escort workers for safety purposes, not to humiliate them.
Please, before you form an opinion on such a business, take into consideration that this is 2013. There is a hightened male presence in Kitimat and this will continue to grow as more construction and what not takes place.
There are a few women who already solicit themselves around town, which leaves them very liable to get harmed.
This service will allow what is inevitably going to happen, take place in a safe environment.
And as for members of the community that are concerned that "husbands are going to indulge or be tempted" well these very same guys are worth being married to anyway. With this service, perhaps they will end up spending more time at home with their families, rather than out in the bar for several hours attempting to satisfy their desires.
Food for thought Kitimat.
none of their business
Comment by Larry Mott on 16th January 2013
" The District is recommending the escort service provide the name, age, address, proof of names, ages to the Business License Inspector and Staff Sergeant of the RCMP. They would also ask they maintain a written recor the name and address of the person making the request for service with the name of the escort and the function to be attended."

I agree with Gary Haupt. This information is nobody's business. Who would have access to this information, where would it be stored. Unbelievable that the District would think of voilating our rights of privacy. Perhaps the District would inform us on which of its employees have had a run in with the law. Could we find out who had an impared charge, or who was convicted of drug charges or theft. Maybe we should ask all residents of Kitimat to fill out a questionnaire and ask who has had evil thoughts or who cheated on their spouse.
Its nobodys business.
nice byline!
Comment by Bob Drake on 16th January 2013
Tied up by an escort service? seriously? how much extra did that cost? :-)

Nobody caught that one?
person making the request for service
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 16th January 2013
Identifying...knowing who and where the service user is at all times...That's the rule that's making it difficult for this company to open an office in Kitimat Thank God! but this rule will eventually fall by the wayside in a technicality where the "person making the request for service" will be the same person all the time...He will be allowed to make up a report about where the escort was and who they were with...but "who they were with" can never be said to have "made the request." It must be how these things work. I mean, we know escort agencies exist and we know who the escorts are but I don't think we know who the "johns" are...and I think a lot of very liberal people with "really open minds" don't want to know who the johns are. It would be interesting to know the actual criminal code law as it relates to escort service users. But Stephen has probably decreed that such ancient arguments will not be addressed in the house anymore...Who knows?
That's an excellent title!
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 16th January 2013
Well written Walter! That's very clever writing indeed!
Re-Zone RTA Site!
Comment by Black Mask on 15th January 2013
Such an outstanding proposal needs immediate attention and approval by council. Please Council, Re-Zone the RTA site to permit such Moral Entertainment for our Poor and Destitute out of town workers. The Brothel would ideally be located next to the RTA Pub, for a more romantic locale the Moon Bay site would fit the bill.
fits right in.
Comment by mother of three on 15th January 2013
Well the escorts fit right in with the drug dealers,Maybe the drug dealer can delivery the girls in there hummer?
More employment opportunities
Comment by Ralph Bartel on 15th January 2013
My, my, aren't we so fortunate to have all these good news announcements for further employment opportunities. I recall, when Terrace allowed Tiara's Escort Service some twenty years ago, the add in the local newspaper looking for a chauffer for their service. This was an on call posistion for a prefferably retired person. Wow! I'm retired. My resume is prepared. Would this not be a very interesting occupation. I just wonder if I'd have to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Job Openings
Comment by Dave on 15th January 2013
I have an unemployed daughter who is fairly attractive and I think this would be an excellent opportunity for her.

She can earn some good money and maybe meet a man who can take her off my hands and marry her.

I have also heard rumors that folks in the adult film industry were interested in Kitimat to film a few projects and I think this is also a great opportunity as it will be more business within the community and bring in a whole new market that Kitimat has never explored.

Thank you mayor and council for your hard work and effort.

Escort Service
Comment by Hard Core on 15th January 2013
Is this a Buisness,or is this organize crime?Not a good idea.
"Escort Services"
Comment by Larry Walker on 15th January 2013
This type of business has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years and todate nobody has been able to stop it. If you make the "rules" tough enough"....it will just go
underground and be regulated by the criminal element in our so called society. Tread careful town council because for every action you take, there will be a reaction.
contributor
Comment by Gary Haupt on 15th January 2013
I am not commenting on the proposed Escort Service itself, but on the suggestion that a 'lawful' busiess has to submit names of employees to the RCMP. Is there any other 'legal' business that has to do this? Maybe ALCAN or Subway does that? I bet not.


Gary Haupt