Strip club wants central home

20:06, Oct 18 2013

Embattled Christchurch strip club Calendar Girls has vowed to find a new central city home.

The Hereford St strip club is to be bought by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) to make way for green space in the eastern frame.

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs has repeatedly denied the decision to acquire the site - while neighbouring Les Mills gym is being allowed to stay - is based on a moral judgment and says claims the unit is trying to sanitise the CBD are "simply wrong".

Calendar Girls owner Jacqui Le Prou said whether or not there has been a conscious decision to push adult entertainment businesses out of the inner city, there had been a "total failure" by earthquake recovery authorities.

"The council and the [CCDU have failed] to consult with us and appreciate that businesses like Calendar Girls are an established and accepted part of the CBD nightlife," she said.

"The days of shady joints in the shady parts of town are long gone but it would seem that some want to take our industry on a great leap backwards," she said.

Advertisement

She said Calendar Girls was an entertainment business and would "find a home in the heart of the entertainment precinct".

Parts of the central city are earmarked for late-night activity, including Oxford Tce and the Lichfield-Manchester St area formerly home to SOL Square.

Property advisor Neil Oldfield, who is representing a handful of business and land owners affected by the CCDU designations - including Calendar Girls - said the bottom line was the unit "was not undertaking fair and open negotiations".

Compensation figures were vastly different from the independent valuations owners had commissioned, he said.

The CCDU was not required to find alternative premises for businesses that were being forced to relocate but they "certainly don't have to make relocation difficult".

Earlier this year the council introduced a bylaw restricting brothels to certain parts of the CBD. No brothels will be permitted in the eastern frame.

He said Oldfield & Co had advised Calendar Girls on the "right path to take" and was waiting to hear back from Le Prou.

"Doing nothing is not an option when you're up against a goliath swinging a giant baseball bat."

University of Canterbury sociology lecturer Jarrod Gilbert said if someone owned a successful, legitimate business they should be left "no better or worse off" as a result of Crown acquisitions.

"It doesn't matter what we might think about the business...and if the CCDU start making moral judgments then we're on a very slippery slope indeed."

He said despite the CCDU not legally having to help businesses relocate, "surely there's a moral obligation to help".

He said adult entertainment businesses, such as brothels, massage parlours and strip clubs, naturally gravitated to city centres.

"I think there would be far greater public concern if those businesses were pushed into the suburbs."

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said it was "simply wrong" to suggest the unit was trying to sanitise the central city.

"The criticism that the Crown is making a moral judgment in wanting to purchase the Calendar Girls property on Hereford St is unfounded."

The Press