Big response to brothel bylaw plan
A proposed bylaw restricting where brothels can be located in Christchurch has drawn nearly 200 submissions from residents.
The location of brothels in the city has not been subject to any bylaw controls since July 2005, when part of a 2004 council bylaw was quashed by the High Court.
The post-earthquake closure of the central city, which forced many brothels to move to the suburbs, has raised community concerns about where they are allowed to operate.
This year, a group called Families and Brothels Don't Mix was formed in Merivale to drive a brothel out of the suburb because of concerns about sexual noises emanating from it and the unsavoury characters it was attracting.
The council is now looking at tightening the rules on where brothels are allowed to operate through a new bylaw.
Under the bylaw, most brothels would be required to be located within certain commercial areas and away from schools and designated "important open spaces", such as Cathedral Square and the Avon River.
Existing large brothels and small owner-operated brothels would be exempt.
Controls would be placed on signs advertising commercial sexual services.
A council spokeswoman said 193 submissions had been received from the public on the proposed bylaw.
Staff were still processing the submissions, but early indications suggested strong support for the proposed restrictions.
She said a few submissions wanted brothels restricted to the central city or within the four avenues only.
Some submissions said brothels should be located away from schools, pharmacies, doctors' clinics, kindergartens, preschools, churches and recreation areas.
"Many submitters linked prostitution with drugs, alcohol and crime and felt they would make areas unsafe and unpleasant unless well policed," she said.
Most submitters thought signage advertising commercial sexual services should only be in areas brothels were located, and be small and discreet.
A hearings panel will consider the submissions this month before making a recommendation to the council on whether to proceed with the bylaw.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you like to see a bike-share scheme in Christchurch?Related story: Free bikes plan for Christchurch