Tattoo shops can now legally exist in the Township of Langley.
Yes, you read that right.
On Monday council voted 8-1 to reverse a bylaw from 1987 that banned tattoo parlours in the township.
The change came about after Avneet Kaur Chahal, who owns a beauty salon in the Aldergrove area, wanted to start microblading, a common cosmetic procedure typically used to tattoo on eyebrows.
Microblading is semi-permanent and while traditional tattoos use a tattoo gun, microblading uses a blade-shaped tool that contains a row of small needles.
Avneet Kaur Chahal is hoping to offer microblading, as pictured here, to people who have gone through chemotherapy or who need it as a result of trauma. (Robert Guertin/CBC)
But Chahal wanted to do more than just run a place where women could get the perfect eyebrows — Chahal wanted to offer a service for people who have lost their hair after chemotherapy.
Chahal is also a trauma therapist, and said she knows firsthand how important it is to help people who have faced tough times to feel and look their best.
"Looking good and having the confidence to feel beautiful again changes so many aspects of life for a woman or for anybody that has gone through trauma," she said.
But she learned that microblading was considered a form of tattooing, which wasn't allowed.
The microblading process is a form of cosmetic tattooing that mimics the fine hairs of a person's eyebrows. (CBC)
Kaur approached Coun. Barb Martens to share her plans and the hurdle she had run into, hoping Martens would help.
She agreed, and brought it up with council.
"I really felt I needed to push this one forward," Martens told BC Today host Michelle Eliot.
"I want her to be able to shine and provide that service to our community."
Neither Martens nor mayor Eric Woodward were able to point to the exact reason the bylaw was created in the first place.
"There wasn't any reason that could be found or or justified," Woodward said. And while he said he doesn't have a tattoo, and doesn't want one, he doesn't see why an artist shouldn't be able to set up a shop in the township.
According to a story from the Langley Advance Times, tattoo artist James Walther wanted to move his business to the Township of Langley in 2012, but couldn't because of the bylaw. His hope to change the bylaw was unsuccessful.
Woodward says the new council, elected last fall, is "quite open" to making bylaw changes if they see no reason for old rules to remain in place.
"In 1987, the Township of Langley was a lot different than it is today," he said. "At some point we have to start making changes as the Township of Langley continues to grow and get bigger."