Michaels: Will strippers really hurt Rutland's business sector?

Key members of Rutland’s business community are getting their backs up over news one of the local bars is allowing women to show their backsides— not to mention their front sides, and likely other gynaecological views.

The inclusion of strippers, however, doesn’t really seem like a sudden about-face. North of 40—a bar situated at the heart of the business sector—was rarely lauded for being a paragon of high falootin’ behaviours. It was a good ol’ country watering hole, with a good ol’ country clientele who behaved like good ol’ backcountry fare from time to time.

Its reputation is so well known, it’s unlikely most aren’t raising an eyebrow when they hear the opinion that the siss-boom-bah infusion will denigrate the area any further.

Just try not to give way to skepticism in front of those who have been trying to craft a new image of one of the oldest parts of the city.

They want you to know, despite anything you’ve heard to the contrary, there’s nothing downmarket about Rutland: It. Is. Uptown.

Those beating that drum hardest, unfortunately, seem to believe they’d prove it to everyone who can’t see past Hein Road with more investment in steel and glass buildings, bland public art and generally homogenous offerings.

That, by my estimate, is the real shame coming to light today.

Rutland is growing and it has a quality and character that’s compelling and can’t be diminished by anyone shaking their moneymakers.

More than a few eateries offer fantastic ethnic nosh in the oft’ maligned end of Kelowna.

In the city Statistics Canada has acknowledged as the whitest nationwide,  Rutland offers warm, welcoming colour. Gorgeous graffiti art the municipality may have already washed away was once found there in ample supply.

This devout downtown dweller would go so far to say that Rutland could shape up to be one of the more interesting parts of the city. The risk is whether that character will grow, get flattened or go sideways by misguided ambition.

Numerous communities is the world have turned out to be the shining lights of their cities, using ill-repute as part of their cachet.

New York, Auckland, Vancouver, or closer to home, Penticton, offer  a few examples.

Penticton’s Front Street used to be the dirty secret of a generally quaint city. “Dive hotels” and autobody shops were some of its original tenants and then came the now famous Slack Alice’s strip club.

It didn’t seem as though there was any end to the greaseball factor until someone took it upon themselves to work with what they had, instead of starting from scratch.

The hotel and autobody shop faded into memory, but today Slack Alice’s is couched between the most chic eateries, posh shops and there’s no end to the cavalcade of families strolling by.

Basically, it’s got just the right amount of siss-boom-bah. Keep that in mind, Rutlanders.

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