So I wanted to get this on 'public record' here as I had noticed (excluding the past week or so) that Klub Kave, the strip club at Fourth and Lakeshore, had shut down. To my surprise the other weekend it opened again. My original thought was that maybe the operator (not Jack Cohen the building owner) had taken some time off. But the more I thought about it, I had not seen his large white pickup truck for quite some time. Then the other night we met a driver who said he had personally dropped the NEW owner off at the club.
Obviously this got me to thinking, once again, how can this happen? For those who do not know, OurLakeshore.net actually started as a forum for local residents opposed to the initial opening of Jack Cohen's strip club adventure(s). Here are some facts that were revealed at that time through a freedom of information request from the city of Toronto (highly condensed):
- Bylaws do not allow a strip club (referred to as Adult Entertainment Club [AEC] in the bylaws now) within 150 meters (I can't remember exact figure, but was around 150m) of residential zoning. His building is within 10 feet of residential zoning.
- Existing AEC licenses are grandfathered for this zoning.
- The building did have an active AEC license up until approx. the mid/late 90's.
- The building did let the AEC license expire sometime in the mid 90's. This was discovered via freedom of information request and was also quite obvious to be the case as it costs $12,000 per year to hold an AEC license. Who would hold one for over ten years and not operate?
- When Jack applied for a NEW AEC license in approx 2009, the city of Toronto granted it to him even though it clearly was against zoning bylaws and not in the public interest.
- Once again, through the freedom of information request, we received the minutes of Jack's interview with city officials for his NEW AEC application. In this request he states it is a NEW application. The city official then asks to clarify, 'So this is a NEW application', Jack responds 'Yes'. He is then granted an AEC license. - if you go back to the beginning of this forum, there will be a lot more detail on what went on back then, but I will try to focus on today.
- This site is launched to help build support opposed to the club. For some reason throughout the whole months long process of trying to find out what actually happened at city hall no city official is cooperative (presumably because they realize they issued Jack his license in error).
This brings us to today. You cannot transfer an AEC licence and if an owner sells, leases or otherwise disposes of the club or premises, or part thereof, the license is terminated. The only exception here is the person who is the new leasee can go to the Toronto Licensing Tribunal and apply for a NEW licence.
Jack Cohen does not operate the strip club, he leases it out. So in this case the present day, NEW leasee, is either operating illegally under someone else's name, or the city has once again issued a new license for the leasee - even with the previous knowledge which was brought forward to them back in 2009
Someone needs to bring this issue up again or it will continue to happen. Last time, reporting these issues to bylaw and Mark Grimes office fell on deaf ears. Maybe this time someone will listen, and act if we are heard? As a disclaimer, I have no issues with strip clubs whatsoever. They have a place, but should have to operate within the rules which have been set out by the city. This was not the case here in 2009 and appears to once again be the case now??
For your reference, here is some excerpts from the City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing with respect to AEC's (my notes in red):
545-373. Sale, lease or other disposition of adult entertainment club.
C. The making of a false or intentionally misleading recital of fact, statement or representation in any such agreement or statutory declaration required by Subsection B shall be deemed a violation of the provisions of this chapter.
New signage went up last week. Blu Lounge? Something along those lines.
Which has now been blacked out and Klub Kave written above it again. Hilarious. :P
Classy Joint :0)