Oakville swingers club not against bylaws, Town says
'We have the greatest and busiest venue in Ontario – period'
March 13, 2015
By Michael Gregory
An Oakville swingers nightclub in operation for almost a year has raised the eyebrows of some local residents, but according to its management, it is a popular destination hotspot for those across Ontario who travel here to delve into the lifestyle.
The NYX Lounge & Lifestyle Nightclub, at 407 Speers Rd., bills itself as an upscale and exotic afterhours hangout catering to singles and couples.
“The No. 1 reason they are driving to this club, and driving past three or four other clubs to get to us, is they enjoy the social aspect of it,” said one of the six-person management team at the nightclub, who didn’t want his name used.
The club’s website, discreet while also suggestive, includes promotional posters of scantily-clad women for events such as “Sexation Saturday,” and a meet-and-greet Friday later in March encouraging people to come “explore your fantasies and desires.”
Admittance to NYX Lounge requires a membership, which can vary in price depending on gender, and relationship status.
Most promotional nights, such as a St. Patrick’s Day celebration party, includes an additional cover charge ranging from $10 for single women to $40 for single men or couples entering after 11 p.m.
“First-time couples, we typically allow them once, sometimes twice (without a membership), and just to get a feel for the place,” said the club manager.
The club, he said, is a safe and welcoming environment boasting upwards of 500 members after only 10 months of operation.
“When you go inside, it’s a nightclub: it’s music, it’s dancing, it’s people hanging around the bar talking... ,” said the manager. “There’s less emphasis on what normally happens at other clubs, and more emphasis on social connections.”
Under the Town of Oakville’s zoning and licensing bylaw, NYX Lounge is considered a nightclub, not an adult entertainment establishment, said Town Clerk Vicki Tytanek.
“Both the zoning bylaw and the licensing bylaw define an adult entertainment establishment/parlour as being premises in which ‘services’ are provided that are designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites,” Tytanek said. “In this case, the establishment is not providing the ‘services’ - it is the patrons who are engaging in certain activities.”
The Town’s Director of Strategy, Policy and Communications Jane Courtemanche said Oakville’s zoning and licensing bylaws for adult entertainment establishments are consistent with other municipalities like Mississauga, or Niagara Falls, where those types of businesses are in operation.
Oakville allows strip clubs in industrial areas away from residential areas, and schools, however none are currently operating in the municipality.
According to the club manager, promiscuous activity between consenting adults does occur in NYX Lounge, but only in specified areas.
“There’s general open areas where people can walk to the back and what happens in the back is their business and at the end of the day, it’s all consenting adults,” he said, noting these are not private rooms, and members don’t have to pay additional fees to gain access.
“They’re general open areas and each of the beds have curtains around them, if they want privacy, fine, if they don’t, that’s their call.”
NYX Lounge is owned by Western Regency Construction Inc., with a business address also listed as 407 Speers Rd.
The owners originally opened a salsa club under a similar name before changing focus in May 2014.
Ward 2 Councillors Pam Damoff and Cathy Duddeck both met with the Town’s CAO Ray Green as well as Bylaw Services in recent weeks after a couple of residents contacted them with concerns.
A public complaint about NYX Lounge led to bylaw officers visiting the club on the night of Feb. 6.
Damoff said that while the nightclub’s website is “suggestive,” she’s satisfied with bylaw officers conclusions that nothing going on at the nightclub is breaking any rules.
“It’s not a body rub parlour, it’s not an adult entertainment lounge, and bylaw has investigated to make sure that they’re not operating as that,” Damoff said.
Asked about a picture on the NYX Lounge website showing a stripper pole next to a bed in the upstairs area of the club, Damoff said the purpose for the support structure isn’t clear.
“There’s a pole at a fitness place,” she said. “So the fact that there’s a pole, they could be dancing provocatively, but there’s lot of provocative dancing that goes on at all kinds of places.”
One of the concerned residents, who contacted Damoff, had a child attending The Swim Academy, located at the same industrial plaza.
“The Town can’t regulate who a landlord rents to if it’s a legal business,” Damoff said. “If it’s something that people think is inappropriate, that’s something that the landlord has done...it’s an issue they should be bringing up with the owner.”
Halton police Staff-Sgt. Julie Craddock-Bijl said police had investigated a complaint against NYX Lounge last year, but only became aware that possible sexual acts have been occurring within the club based on information provided by Oakville Beaver.
“You can’t have sex in a public place,” Craddock-Bijl said. “If people were engaging in sexual acts in the club then it would be considered an indecent act.”
The fact that a business requires a membership does not change how the law is interpreted, she said.
“It’s all private property, but it’s whether or not there’s an expectation that the public would have access to that,” she said.
NYX Lounge said the activities in their club are consistent with others in operation.
“At the end of the day all the lifestyle clubs are member clubs, they have play areas, we’re not doing anything different,” the manager said.
Craddock-Bijl said overall police have not encountered any issues with NYX Lounge.
“We’re certainly aware that it’s operating in town...(but) they haven’t been causing us problems,” she said.
Mayor Rob Burton said a swingers club used to operate in the 1960s where there is now a retirement home on Lakeshore Road.
Going back even further, he said, a Bronte hotel similarly had a reputation for housing both a casino, and what the mayor called “a house of ill repute.”
“Fortunately for us, it appears that the rougher, wilder days of Oakville’s past have not returned - this is mild compared to that,” he said.
The club manager said on a Friday night NYX Lounge has upwards of 300 people and word-of-mouth continues to be the “greatest form of advertising” for the club.
“It was all about connecting, and it was all about making friends,” he said, speaking about the management team’s reasons for opening the business. “We have a lot of regulars that come in and everybody knows each other’s names...they’re a great group of people.
“We have the greatest and busiest venue in Ontario - period.”