Game over for arcade bylaw?
Woodstock council to vote on repealing ’80sera licensing measure
While some things from the 1980s may be retro chic, it seems the video arcade isn’t one of them.
In 1983, the City of Woodstock introduced Municipal Code Chapter 557, requiring businesses with more than three arcade machines to get a licence.
Deputy Clerk Chris Gauthier said the bylaw targeted loitering, littering, noise and lack of parental control at amusement and arcade establishments.
“Any establishment that had three or more arcade games would have to get an arcade licence . . . (requiring it) to be in an approved location and stuff like that,” Gauthier said. “But since that time, with the rise of technology, arcades aren’t really relevant anymore.”
Arcades were big in the 1980s and ‘90s, hot spots for young people to hang out while pumping quarters into Pac-Man or Galaga, and later Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. But with the rise of home video game consoles in the late ’90s, it was increasingly “game over” for arcades. The city hasn’t issued an arcade licence since 2008 and other city bylaws now cover the same ground, Gauthier said. So on Thursday, Woodstock council will vote on repealing Chapter 557.
“Our business licencing bylaw ensures that if somebody is going to open an arcade with arcade games. they’re going to have to go through the same regulations that other businesses go through,” Gauthier said. “They would have to continue to get their zoning checked, proof of insurance and other things (of ) that nature. That’s why we’re repealing it, because it’s already covered by a different bylaw.”