The event promoter of a ‘Ladies Night’ – featuring male exotic dancers at a waterfront restaurant in White Rock – says organizers will “reluctantly” move the male dancing portion of the event to a private location.
Katey Pederson says the decision to relocate was made after the group’s provincially approved special event permit for Dec. 1 was revoked at the request of the City of White Rock.
“The city seems to be emphasizing that adult entertainment should only be found in private residences. Why wouldn’t you offer an event celebrating women?” she told Peace Arch News Monday.
“White Rock is based on the values of promoting community and family, while we are morally policing women to hide away. I would rather bring events that encourage inclusivity for all that wish to attend.”
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi told PAN Nov. 21 that the event was not approved because “current liquor licensing wouldn’t allow it.”
She said the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) informed the applicant that the special event permit would be revoked due to the organizer not having submitted a “de-licensing application” and that it’s “also our understanding” that the LCLB told the applicant that they do not have appropriate zoning for adult entertainment and there is no application to de-license the ‘food primary’ license to ‘liquor primary.’”
However, Pederson said the LCLB informed her the request to cancel the special event permit was made to the board by the City of White Rock.
The Attorney General’s office emailed a statement to PAN Monday saying all dealings with a special event permit application prior to issuing or denying a permit is a “private business matter,” and the province would not provide specifics about the Ladies Night permit.
The statement says the decision to issue or deny a special-event permit lies with the LCLB, and local government has the authority to enforce their bylaws, which are separate from the special event permit approval process.
Farrokhi said “city staff note” that adult entertainment does not conform to the zoning bylaw, and “staff also pointed out that the existing license did not permit a use other than a restaurant.” She said that if someone is looking to bring this type of event into White Rock, it would require a change in liquor licensing and associated zoning requirements.
“This could not be done without a rezoning and/or opportunity for public comment,” Farrokhi said.
Pederson disputed Farrokhi’s explanation that the event could not proceed without a rezoning or hearing.
“From my understanding, the process that is mentioned here relates to changing a license at an establishment from a ‘food primary’ license to a ‘liquor primary’ licence, not a special event,” Pederson said. “A special event permit was what the event applied for and was given.”
In a statement sent to PAN Monday, Pederson said she’s continued to keep in contact with the city to comply with regulations, but found the city to be “restricting with information.”
She said the Ladies Night event is nearly sold out, with tickets purchased from people living as far away as North Vancouver and Port Moody.
“The event was intended to help increase volume of new customers and locals during the slower season. I’ve had more positive than negative responses, the only negative responses I feel are under the impression that the entertainment is more than just dancers,” Pederson said, noting $20 tickets for Friday’s event are available by calling 778-908-3446.
Event organizer Brooke Colby, of Brooke Colby Productions, confirmed in the email that a fashion show portion of the event will remain at The BEACH restaurant, however, the dancing will be moved.