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UPDATE: 'Offensive' events policy to be reconsidered by city

The proposed development of a usage policy for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC), which would limit events with "offensive" content, will be reconsidered by city council.

The motion to create a policy passed at the Jan. 21 council meeting, following a presentation by Richard Peachey, an Abbotsford resident, encouraging the city to stop the Lingerie Football League from using the AESC.

Mayor Bruce Banman opposed the initial motion, along with Coun. John Smith.

Banman told The News that he decided to revisit the proposal after a "couple councillors felt they wanted to reconsider their position."

The controversial brand of football came to Abbotsford in August 2012. The organization has since rebranded as the Legends Football League, but still requires players to wear revealing uniforms, causing concern for some citizens.

Peachey said council has handed the responsibility of the AESC's use to Global Spectrum, an American corporation that manages the sports centre. Its contract states the centre will not be used for "dangerous, noxious or offensive trade or business." Peachey said the LFL's use of the facility contradicts this statement.

Coun. Henry Braun proposed the motion for a written policy to be developed, to help guide staff decisions on what organizations can use city properties.

Banman disagreed, stating that the city is "not the morality police."

Peachey said it is under council's authority to create a formal policy designating what organizations can use city property, citing the Langley Events Centre's rejection of an LFL team there.

Coun. Simon Gibson seconded Braun's motion and said it would be useful to have a policy in place, adding the public needs to be engaged in the discussion.

The motion was approved.

Banman agreed the discussion needs to happen, "but I don't think it necessarily needs to happen for some of the issues that were brought up today."

Banman said the LFL has already taken steps to change its image because the public did not embrace lingerie football. He said the organization has taken steps towards providing better protective gear for its players.

Banman asked that council proceed with extreme caution, stating that cancelling everything that could possibly be offensive is a "dangerous slope."

Council will reintroduce the motion at Monday's evening meeting.

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