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The first review of the Prostitution Bylaw 2004 commences this month. All Bylaws created under the Local Government Act 2002 are required to be reviewed within five years from adoption. The Prostitution Bylaw is subsequently due for review by October 2009.
The objectives of the existing Prostitution Bylaw 2004 are to support the purpose and intent of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. The Bylaw enables Commercial Sexual Service providers to operate within Hamilton in a manner that both meets demand for services and addresses community concerns and sensitivities. It allows for the establishment of brothels in city areas where the effects associated with their operation can be readily controlled and limits their operational exposure to children and young people.
The 2004 Bylaw established a permitted area for brothels, consisting of commercial and industrial parts of the city. Within the permitted area brothels must not be located within 100 metres of 'sensitive sites'. Sensitive sites are childcare facilities, schools, churches and Marae. The Bylaw also controls the establishment of signage to minimise community offence and controls the soliciting of commercial sexual services.
The Bylaw was challenged in the High Court by a local brothel operator in 2006. The challenge was dismissed but then subsequently appealed in the Court of Appeal. The appeal was then also dismissed by the Court of Appeal, with the court determining that the Hamilton bylaw represented a fair and reasonable interpretation of national legislation.
The review process for the Prostitution Bylaw represents a standard format that applies to all bylaw reviews. This includes informal stakeholder consultation and an early workshop with Councillor's at which they are able to identify community issues.
Formal feedback will be sought from the community using the Special Consultative Procedure. The proposed bylaw will be notified publically in March 2009 and the public will have an opportunity to make submissions throughout a four-week period in March/April 2009.