Tattooist speaks on business plan for store amid zoning debate

Clair Rattee spoke to councillors on September 30 about her proposed tattoo parlour at Nechako Centre.

Councillors asked questions of a proposal to amend zoning for the shops at Nechako Centre, but none appeared concerned for the business which initiated the process, a tattoo parlour.

Business owner Claire Rattee did appear at council on September 30 to answer any questions councillors may have had about her plan. Council had already approved first reading of the proposed amendment bylaw, but opted not to give second reading until some questions were answered.

“I don’t want anyone to have any concerns about what kind of business it is that we’re going to be running. My husband and I are not your typical tattoo artists. We’ve both been very closely involved with churches our entire lives. My husband’s a Christian and I’m Jewish. I know that seems a little strange that we’re tattoo artists but it’s hard to make money off art these days and it’s something that we really love,” she said. “We try to run our business in a way that’s not going to offend anyone.”

The windows showing any tattooing will be blocked off so no one can see in, especially important with the number of children in the area, she said.

“You don’t want young children watching tattoos going on,” she said. “We’re really trying our hardest to make sure that we’re contributing members of society and we’re not going to be causing you guys any issue.”

The business is expected to generate about three jobs.

The bylaw had made its way through the Advisory Planning Commission for comment, and council adopted their recommendations, which adds phrasing to exclude any possible escort agency business (which is not a business that had been proposed for the area but was added as a precautionary measure) and adding ‘liquor outlet’ and ‘restaurant (licensed)’ to the list of permitted uses.

On questions from councillor Edwin Empinado, town planner Daniel Martin explained that while there already is a pub in the complex, language changes for business licences meant the planners wanted to update the bylaw so zoning and business licences shared the same language. The phrase ‘neighbourhood pub’, specifically, is no longer used for business licences. A public hearing for the changes, to add Personal Service Shops to the bylaw, is set for October 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the council chambers.

Comment is also being received until then at the District of Kitimat offices.

A personal service shop includes businesses such as barber shops, gyms, health clubs, and tattoo and piercing studios, among others.