Escort business bylaw wording moves closer to adoption

Councillors have passed two readings of a new business bylaw which includes provisions for escort service businesses.

Councillors voted for two readings of the proposed new business licence amendment bylaw which is set to include new language to reflect escort service agencies.

The bylaw was initially scheduled for three readings but councillor Mario Feldhoff instead moved for two readings following a short debate.

Earlier the deputy Chief Administrative Officer noted that changes can be made after three readings but would require rescinding the reading and re-moving with the new amendments, which would make the process a little longer.

As it is now, the public had until 3 p.m. today to send in written submissions to the proposed changes, and verbal reports could have been made to the April 22 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Among the several provisions in the proposed bylaw is a licence fee for an escort agency of $2,000, and a $250 fee on individual escorts, to be required whether the escort is working with or without an agency.

The official definition of an escort under the bylaw is “a contractor who, for a fee provides companionship for and by individuals for profit or personal gain, escorts or accompanies another person on an intermittent or temporary basis for a social occasion or function…”

For comparison, Kitimat staff provided a list of other communities’ fees for escort agencies. Prince George has the highest cost, at $3,633 per agency. Prince Rupert’s fee is $2,200, and Smithers’ fee is $1,000 and $250 per escort.

Terrace charges $750 per agency and $10 per employee or contractor.

Other provisions in the proposed bylaw requires escorts to provide a written record to either the District’s licence inspector or the RCMP of anyone who has requested the service and for what function.

They are also to operate in a “safe and health conscious manner,” and can not provide services between 4 a.m. And 5 p.m.