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Surrey porn theatre targeted

Roxxxy's licence revoked as Surrey tries to gentrify

Does he think there's a moral crusade to get rid of his business? 'Absolutely,' says Roxxxy's operator Tony Perry. Credit: George Smeltzer photo

A porn theatre that has attracted attention on gay cruising sites is fighting for its life as Surrey’s mayor eyes the neighbourhood in which it sits for redevelopment.

Roxxxy’s opened on King George Highway on Nov 15 with three rooms showing a variety of porn.

Operator Tony Perry, acknowledged by many as the granddaddy of BC’s adult industry, says he got a licence for the establishment.

But the theatre is only blocks from the area that the City of Surrey and Mayor Dianne Watts are eyeing as the centrepiece of a reinvigorated urban community.

Watts’s ambitious plan for a revitalized city centre includes a new city hall not far from Roxxxy’s.

“The city is also rapidly shifting away from its rural roots and becoming more urban, with a new major downtown city centre development already underway at Surrey Central City,” says a February City of Surrey news release.

“Surrey is a postmodern suburb, not the leafy refuge for the white middle class of the 1950s, but an ethnically dynamic and rapidly changing mini-metropolis,” adds the city’s Townshift website.

Soon after the city launched competitions for ideas to invigorate its neighbourhoods, inspectors began visiting Perry’s business.

“They came in four times one night to measure the floors,” he says.

Then he received a letter telling him his business licence has been cancelled.

There was no invitation to a hearing on his business, no letters saying he was in violation of city codes, Perry says.

Whether people like it or not, he says, his right to do business is protected under the right to free speech.

“I think they’re hoping every day they keep me shut, they’ll drive me out of business.”

But there’s a principle at stake, Perry says. “The minute they control who says what, democracy is over.”

Does he think there’s a moral crusade to get rid of his business?

“Absolutely,” he responds.

Despited repeated calls, Watts was unavailable for comment.

“I don’t think anyone wants that type of business,” Watts reportedly told The Province in March. “It is not the type of business we go out recruiting to come to the city, let me put it that way.”

Surrey bylaw enforcement manager Ed Warzel says the licence allowing Roxxxy’s to open was issued in error.

But he won’t elaborate on what that error might have been, as the situation is now before the city’s lawyers.

However, Warzel notes that in the course of the investigation into Roxxxy’s, inspectors found infractions at Perry’s adult store next door. He won’t say what those infractions were, but he says Perry has been given 30 days to address them.

“In the past, Surrey has taken several measures to dissuade some businesses from remaining in or setting up shop in this city, starting about 10 years ago with a hemp store in Guildford,” the Surrey Leader reported in March.

Meanwhile, a January post on the cruising site Squirt gave Roxxxy’s two enthusiastic thumbs up.

“2 hetero couples and 5 guys, all in the same theatre. 3 BJs going on all at the same time. While a gay guy was blowing another guy, he was having his cock stroked by a third guy. Change-up: the 2 women get together while their partners look on, meanwhile the other guys rotate partners and the 4th guy gets a mouth full. Just way too much fun for one evening,” the post says.

Squirt is owned by Pink Triangle Press, which publishes Xtra.