Private strip club a matter for police, authority says
REGINA While a new private strip club in the city is likely dancing on a legal fine line, neither the provincial government nor the City of Regina have it in their sights.
Speaking to media on Friday, Premier Scott Moe said he expects Saskatchewan’s liquor laws — which prohibit a mix of liquor and striptease shows, except in certain circumstances — to be enforced.
“If SLGA (Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority) deems that they were operating out of the context of the law we would expect that law to be enforced,” Moe said.
The province’s liquor laws were briefly relaxed in 2014, but then restricted again. Then-premier Brad Wall said the government had concerns that strip clubs in the province would lead to an increase in human trafficking. Moe said his position is “exactly the same.”
Opened in April, Regina 151 is a members-only strip club that operates out of a private location. From the outside, the brick and glass building looks like any other industrial office. In the Corporate Registry, it’s registered as Regina 151 Event Planning Ltd., with the nature of the business described as “advertising, public relations and related services.”
The club, featuring female exotic dancers, doesn’t hold regular business hours. It opens to members only during events and is closed to the public, although one-day memberships are available.
Listed owner Darrin Oremba told Postmedia News this week that he believes the club is operating within Saskatchewan’s laws because it is a private venue and doesn’t sell liquor on-site. Complimentary alcoholic drinks are provided as part of the membership fee.
“It’s similar to inviting everybody to your house for a party,” Oremba said.
The Regina accountant said he consulted with a lawyer before opening, to ensure it was legal.
David Morris, a spokesman for the SLGA, said serving complimentary alcohol in a private club without a permit would still be considered a violation of the province’s liquor laws. However, Morris said the matter is outside of the SLGA’s jurisdiction, and anyone breaking the law would be subject to police enforcement.
Gene Makowsky, minister responsible for the SLGA, said because the club doesn’t hold an SLGA liquor permit, it’s not under the purview of the authority, so it won’t investigate. Makowsky also deferred to the police.
Regina Police Service spokesman Les Parker said police would need to look into city bylaws and provincial statutes before determining if the club is violating the law.
“If there’s an onus on us to act, we need to investigate what our boundaries are to act on it,” Parker said.
Parker said Chief Evan Bray was not aware of the club’s existence prior to a Postmedia News article this week. The chief wasn’t available for comment Friday.
Oremba said officers who visited the club assured him it fell within the law. Parker couldn’t confirm that.
Oremba is also confident he isn’t running afoul of Regina’s bylaws, saying the city told him the private club needed only a business licence from the province, and wasn’t required to make an adult entertainment establishment application.
“That is how they worded it, as far as why I did not need any kind of permits for anything here, is because it’s private,” Oremba said.