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Beach massages rubbed out

If you were heading to Rotary Beach in Kelowna expecting to get a massage - you're out of luck.

Tim Hamel, contracted by the city to perform therapeutic massages at Rotary Beach has had his contract suspended for seven days.

The City issued the suspension Wednesday for breach of contract.

Property Management Manager, John Saufferer, said if the breach is not remedied within seven days the City will cancel the licence.

"The breach of contract was that the consultant and the practitioners performing the massages on the beach were to be registered massage therapists," Saufferer told Castanet News.

He said the City had been aware that Hamel had not been registered, but added they were also under the impression he was not practicing massages at that location so it was not a concern.

"As a result of a review this year his lease was renewed. We requested confirmation from him that all of the practitioners at that location were registered," said Saufferer.

"At that time Mr. Hamel indicated that was not the case, so we were forced to take the action we did."

For public protection, security and liability reasons, Saufferer said the City has requested Hamel have that designation.

Saufferer said Hamel obviously feels differently.

"He feels there are different standards in terms of what qualifies as a registered massage practitioner or therapist," said Saufferer.

"He feels the individuals at that location are qualified although they do not have that technical designation. He feels they should be able to keep practicing there even though they do not have that designation."

As for Hamel, he said he will not fight the City's order.

He told Castanet News that, unless licenced massage therapists appear and apply to work for him, he will have no choice, but to shut down.

Hamel also runs massage concessions at the Peach at Okanagan Lake and at Skaha Lake Beach in Penticton.

He claims his contract with the City of Penticton does not require him to be registered.

As for a replacement at Rotary Beach, Saufferer said at this time there is no one waiting in the wings.

He said if the current contract is terminated the City could potentially put out another bid request.

As for its popularity, Saufferer said from inspections the City does from time to time there does seem to be usage at the location.

He added there haven't been any complaints and very few negative comments concerning massage therapy being offered at the beach.

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