The area south of Tuam St could become Christchurch's new red-light district because authorities want to keep brothels out of other parts of the central city.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has raised concerns that a proposed city council bylaw allowing brothels to operate in the central-city commercial zones does not align with its vision for the area.
It has written to the council urging it make changes to the bylaw so that key areas of the central city are kept brothel-free. It wants the bylaw amended to prohibit brothels and any signs relating to commercial sex services from being set up in the new eastern and southern frames and the seven other areas of the central business district it has designated for key anchor projects.
Its suggested changes radically reduce the area of the CBD in which brothels are allowed to operate and are likely to force the council into a rethink.
The bylaw was drafted before the release of the recovery plan for the central city and allowed for brothels to be set up in commercial business areas across the CBD provided they were not immediately adjacent to important open spaces such as Cathedral Square and Worcester Blvd.
Cr Helen Broughton, who heads the subcommittee considering submissions on the proposed bylaw, said it was clear from Cera's letter that some changes to the bylaw would need to be made.
She conceded Cera's suggested changes meant there were now only limited areas of the CBD that could be considered as potentially suitable for brothels, but she was "reasonably confident" there was still a large area south of Tuam St where commercial sex services could be run.
Councillors are due to reconvene deliberations on the brothel bylaw on Friday. So far in their deliberations they have agreed that outside of the CBD, large brothels will be permitted only in certain commercial areas and will not be allowed next to preschools, schools and residential areas.
The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective was unaware of Cera's stance on the location of brothels in the CBD until contacted by The Press yesterday.
Regional co-ordinator Anna Reed said its submission came as a surprise.
"We think that brothels should be allowed within any area of the CBD that any other commercial business would be accepted," she said.
Before the quakes, 12 of the 13 known commercial brothels in Christchurch were in the CBD.
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