Categorized | Inner Perth, North, Perth news

‘Massage centres’ confuse Perth planners

CHRIS THOMSON

In the absence of any direction from the state government, confusion has engulfed three planned ‘massage centres’ whose fate will be decided on Tuesday night.

Attorney General Christian Porter hopes to introduce new laws by the end of 2010 expected to pave the way for brothels to be decriminalised in industrial areas only.

In the interim, local councils across Western Australia are grappling with how to deal with the recent stream of ‘massage centre’ applications that have hit their planners’ desks.

Planners at Wanneroo council have recommended a temporary 12-month approval for a seven-day-a-week massage centre for 4/32 Buckingham Drive, Wangara.

Applicant Tracey Pearce wants to open the centre from 8am to 9pm, with peak periods expected between 5pm and 9pm.

Council planners refused the original application in February, alleging the building “was likely to be used for the purposes of prostitution”.

This was dismissed by the State Administrative Tribunal when Ms Pearce appealed the decision and the city was unable to prove the claim. The Tribunal invited the city to reconsider its decision.

At a briefing session on August 18, the plans were reportedly hotly questioned by city councillors.

A second, Thai, ‘massage centre’ planned for 7/117 Brisbane Street, Perth comes before Town of Vincent councillors on Tuesday night.

The centre has been proposed by Subiaco-based Indo-Raya Holdings, a company first registered in 2004, and a Vincent town planner has recommended refusal.

A report by planner Adam Dyson says public objections include that the centre may be used “for services of a sexual nature”.

Mr Dyson agrees this is a valid concern. He advises that if the Thai massage centre were approved it would have to be on the basis of zero sexual activity.

The third centre up for debate on Tuesday, again at Vincent, is a ‘massage parlour’ on the corner of Lord and Coolgardie Streets in Perth.

Council planner Daniella Pirone advises the centre, which applicants C Sun, J Chen and C Y Sun want to build opposite ME Bank Stadium, is an “inappropriate use”.

The plans indicate there are six rooms available for massage, two bathrooms and a large reception area.

The applicants say there will be three to four female workers and a receptionist.

They say qualifications of staff cannot be provided to the council because the workers have not yet been hired.

If approved, the massage parlour would operate from 10am to 2am on weekdays and 10am to 3am on weekends.

Objections include concerns over the building’s planned use as a massage parlour with a closing time of 2am.

Ms Pironi’s report alleges the operating hours and gender of staff suggest the building may be used as a brothel if approved.

Photo: freephotos.com

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