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Massage parlour stripped of licence
City council ensured the Water Club won't offer massages in Richmond again, after cancelling its business licence Monday.
Compounding infractions and illegal activity in the No. 3 Road penthouse parlour compelled the city's chief licence inspector to make the recommendation.
The Water Club had occupied approximately 4,000 square feet on the 11th and 12th floors of the Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel. Current operators took over a former body rub studio in June 2009.
This fall the business was facing pressure from hotel officials to vacate. A deal was reached with the club, which agreed to leave the premises last month, according to hotel officials.
"Although they had closed down, they still held a valid business licence that did not expire until Oct. 1, 2012," said Ted Townsend, city spokesperson. "With that licence they had a number of possible options available to them including re-opening at that location, or applying to transfer it to another location. The cancellation of their licence removes all those options."
City council suspended Water Club's business licence for 60 days earlier this year for a host of infractions in 2010. Since then, licence inspectors have handed out fines for five more infractions: twice failing to provide written notice of change in personnel, obstructing a massage room window, and twice for allowing smoking.
All recent charges are being disputed by the operator, who will have his day in court April 12, 2012. According to the city's chief licence inspector, Glenn McLaughlin, that prosecution will continue despite the licence cancellation.
More recently, RCMP have noted more serious infractions. According to a staff report, RCMP arrived for an inspection on Oct. 13, but were refused entry. Officers noted they could hear people inside, and heard a second lock activated on the front door as they waited outside. An RCMP officer noted "high level drug traffickers were inside getting 'foot massages,'" according to the report.
On Oct 22, RCMP officers arrived again. This time they were permitted entry, finding an obstructed window, unregistered employee and a minor on the premises.
A CTV News investigation this year also found that "happy ending" massages were being offered at the massage parlour.
Water Club bylaw violations
•Late 2009: Police discover a masseuse performing a sex act on a customer.
•June 30, 2010: Police arrive at 2:15 a.m. to find people on premises despite midnight closing time.
•Sept. 29, 2010: Police arrive at 2 a.m. to find club still open, along with a patron and unregistered masseuse—both naked—along with alcohol and evidence of smoking.
•Nov. 21, 2010: Police find evidence of cigarette and marijuana smoke.
•Nov. 26, 2010: Inspectors and police find cigarette and marijuana smoke, alcohol and a masseuse and patron in a dark room, along with an unregistered masseuse who tried to exit through a fire escape.
•Feb. 11, 2011: Inspectors issue tickets for failing to provide notice of change in personnel and obstructing a window.
•March 10, 2011: Ticket issued for smoking.
•June 25, 2011: Ticket issued for failing to provide notice of change of personnel.
•Aug. 20, 2011: Ticket issued for smoking.
•Oct. 13, 2011: Police refused entry.
•Oct. 22, 2011: Police find obstructed massage room window, an unregistered employee and a minor on premises.