Prostitution may be illegal but one city councillor is suggesting that a red light district may be a good thing and he wants to explore the idea for Toronto Island.

Being met with criticism, Giorgio Mammoliti says it is being "blown out of proportion," and insists he just wants to explore the idea.

"What I'd like is for that staff report that I've been asking for," Mammoliti said Wednesday, adding that it would talk about "how to resolve the current issues of Toronto." The final report would be studied by all of city council.

Mammolitti says that communities throughout Toronto have fronts for prostitution masquerading as massage parlours or holistic healing centres. With these underground forms of prostitution conducting business in neighbourhoods, the councillor says Toronto is suffering.

"It goes hand-in-hand with illicit drugs. It goes hand-in-hand with illegal gambling," Mammoliti said.

"What I'm suggesting is, let's realize the problem, let's focus on what the solution might be, agree as a city that we need to deal with it and then move into the next phase."

He added that the island, which is home to about 600 residents in 252 houses, "is an example of a place we could potentially be looking at."

But it is not the only place that should be examined.

"The whole city should be looked at to find the spot that might work. I don't know whether the island might work or not," Mammoliti said.

"We should be studying it, we should be talking about this because we've got a problem in this city."

A red light district has met with a cool reception from island residents. Mayor David Miller has dismissed the idea.

While Mammoliti is merely asking for a study, any recommendations would likely need changes to the Criminal Code of Canada before they could become reality.