Routine revoking of display rules part of sweeping regulatory review
The City of Mount Pearl has revoked its regulations governing the public display of sexually explicit materials — but only because those rules aren’t necessary anymore, says Mayor Randy Simms.
At Mount Pearl’s regular meeting on Tuesday, council revoked the city’s Adult Materials Display Regulations — on the books since 1988 and amended in 2007 — which compel businesses to cover up sexually explicit books, magazines, videos and other materials.
Simms told the Telegram the display of adult materials is covered by provincial laws, and the Mount Pearl is pruning redundant regulations as it reviews all of its bylaws.
Simms said the implementation cleaned up a problem the city was having in the late ’80s.
“Some of these adult books were in different stores around, and they were being displayed in front of counters, like where candy bars are seen today, almost like an impulse buy,” said Simms, who was not on council at the time. “They were below the counter and therefore available to the eyes of the innocent, and council had received, as I recall, some complaints.”
The city introduced the regulations to control the display of the materials, said Simms, who was elected to council a year later, and he says he doesn’t believe Mount Pearl ever had to enforce the regulations, as all shopkeepers complied.
Last year, city council decided to do a review of all its regulations, said Simms. “Part of our strategic plan, which calls for constant improvement in everything that we do. One of the areas that you look at is OK, how regulatory are you as a regulator? Are you over-regulating? Are you doing more than you should be doing? Are you doing less than you should be doing?”
A lawyer hired by the city to review the city’s regulations has found instances of bylaws — including the adult materials regulations — that are outside the scope of the city to regulate.
“The question then for the city becomes, ‘OK, if we don’t regulate it, who does?’ And there is all kinds of legal regulations that exist out there in the marketplace already, at the provincial and federal level, that falls within, I’ll call it, the jurisdiction of the judiciary, to deal with these kinds of things. For us, then, it’s something we can take off the books, no more than that. It’s a housekeeping thing.”
Simms said he expects the city will continue to discover, as the review goes on, more outdated or redundant rules the city will need to update or repeal.