Claims that sex-trade workers and drug dealers are creating a nuisance on a Notre Dame Avenue back lane are being disputed by another business owner.
David Thomas, owner of Keltek Safety Apparel, alleges the real reason his neighbour wants to close a portion of the laneway is so he can expand his business, which he said would force him out of business.
"The prostitutes and drug dealers are there but they're not a problem," Thomas said. "He just wants to buy the laneway."
Thomas' neighbour is Frank Motors, owned by Dieter Scheffer, who claimed the shady characters were using the back lane behind his garage to conduct their illicit dealings.
"That trade (prostitution and drug-dealing) has brought a lot of car traffic that we didn't have before and we're getting a lot of people speeding down the back lane, which is dangerous," Scheffer recently told the Free Press.
Scheffer said he wants the city to formally close a portion of the back lane, which he would then buy, stopping the nuisance activity.
Scheffer told the city he would allow Keltek access to the back lane but also stated his long-term plan was to expand his garage to the neighbouring property behind him, creating an extended garage with a drive-thru exit.
Keltek manufactures safety and sporting apparel. It's had a head office and manufacturing facilities at the Notre Dame location for 40 years. The company also has production facilities in Morden.
Thomas said he needs access to the full back lane for semi-trailers, dropping off raw materials and shipping out finished product.
"If this public lane is closed... this would seriously put our business in jeopardy," Thomas stated in a letter to city hall.
"The primary focus is public safety." Scheffer said, adding he would block access to the laneway from a side street, Lydia Street, but Keltek would still be able to access its loading doors from another laneway that runs north-south.
A public hearing on Scheffer's application was to have been heard Jan. 21 but was rescheduled at Thomas' request to Feb. 18.
Scheffer's claims about the nuisance created by the sex trade workers and drug dealers are supported by a report from the West End BIZ patrol and a petition from local residents.