Debra Conomy, Towards Beach Safe Committee.
We would like to make you aware of the The Towards Safe Beach Committee which was established earlier this year by local naturists and others to address offensive behaviour at the nude beach at Tyagarah.
The Towards Beach Safe Committee was formed in May/June 2017 and has met several times with local police (Detective Chief Inspector Luke Arthurs, Detective Sergeant Grant Erickson and Sergeant Jason Dowds), Byron Council staff (Darren McAllister), and other stakeholders.
Our vision is for Tyagarah to be a legal, safe and positive space for enjoying nature in the nude.
The Committee has already negotiated 4WD access to the beach for police vehicles through the Elements of Byron resort. This will enable the authorities to respond quickly to reports of anti-social activity as well as emergencies.
The Committee also supported the installation of warning signs at the Gray’s Lane carpark and Tyagarah Tea-Tree Lake by National Parks, which state these areas are not clothing-optional and that penalties apply to infractions.
Most significantly, the Committee has established a good working relationship with the local police. The police have requested clear signage to demarcate the nude area and have told us: “It would assist greatly in clearly defining the clothes optional areas. This will enable Police to highlight to users of the beach the nominated areas and targeted those involved in offensive behaviour”.
The Committee has also been advised that National Parks wrote to Council in 2013 with permission and encouragement to install signs delineating the clothing-optional beach. This can be confirmed by Darren McAllister who is Open Spaces Facilities Co-ordinator at BSC. No jurisdictional impediment therefore exists to putting signs in place.
The Committee now calls on Council to install clear signs on the approaches to, and at the boundaries of, the designated nudist section of the beach.
In addition the police have assured us they want to play a proactive role in addressing misconduct. They have said: “We wish to plan ongoing overt and covert operations … to eradicate this behaviour making the beach safe for all of its users”.
In our meetings, the police have also emphasised that it is vital for all concerned citizens to report illegal activity wherever it occurs. This includes sexual harassment and acts of indecency.
The Committee is grateful for the supportiveness of local police and is also formulating creative, community-led plans that complement their efforts.
Councillors, it is premature to revoke the clothing-optional status of Tyagarah Beach without notice given the promising early work of the Towards Safe Beach Committee and our very constructive collaboration with local police.
We recommend that you:
- Reject Motion 9.2 on Thursday.
- Support police initiatives to curb, and ultimately eliminate, anti-social behaviour by installing signs at Tyagarah and Belongil.
- Seek advice from the Towards Safe Beach Committee regarding the location and messaging of the signs.
- Seek advice from the Towards Safe Beach Committee regarding community-led initiatives.