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Backlane frequented by sex trade workers to remain open

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The proposal to close the back lane at 575 Notre Dame Ave. has been shelved.

JOE BRYSKA / FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The proposal to close the back lane at 575 Notre Dame Ave. has been shelved.

A plan to close a backlane because it attracted sex trade workers and speeders has been put on the shelf.

The property and development committee this morning was considering a plan to close a part of a backlane north of Notre Dame Avenue, at Lydia Street and approve its sale to a local auto repair shop.

But the committee decided to take no action after another local business operator said the plan would jeopardize his ability to operate.

David Thomas, owner of Kelsey Sportswear and Kelteck, makers of safety apparel, said closing the lane would make it difficult for large trucks to access the rear loading zone of his business.

The owners of Frank Motors wanted to close the westerly portion of the lane because it had become a gathering spot for sex trade workers and their clients, littering the area with condoms, and motorists were using it a as short cut.

An administrative report, which supported the proposal, said after the lane is closed, Frank Motors planned to buy the property from the city to facilitate a building expansion.

Thomas said that while sex trade workers and their clients were an issue, he said the owners of Frank Motors just want to close the lane so they can expand their building.

Thomas said other methods could be implemented to deal with the sex trade and the motorists, including the installation of lighting, mirrors and speed bumps.

Thomas’ lawyer said the city could be liable for damages if the lane is closed and Thomas’ business suffers as a result.

Planning director Barry Thorgrimson said he was unaware of Thomas’ concerns, admitting the city could be held liable and added his department was withdrawing its support for the lane closure.

No one from Frank Motors attended the committee meeting.

Coun. Mike Pagtakhan said he hoped Frank Motors would withdraw its application.

The issue was put over to the September meeting.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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