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May 11, 2021

Open letter to councillors re plan to revoke nude beach

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Debra Conomy, Towards Beach Safe Committee.

Dear Councillors,

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:

  1. Reject Motion 9.2 on Thursday.
  2. Support police initiatives to curb, and ultimately eliminate, anti-social behaviour by installing signs at Tyagarah and Belongil.
  3. Seek advice from the Towards Safe Beach Committee regarding the location and messaging of the signs.
  4. Seek advice from the Towards Safe Beach Committee regarding community-led initiatives.

 


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7 COMMENTS

  1. Debra, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments and suggestions, and applaud the Safe Beaches Committee for taking action towards saving our beach and removing predators.
    I am a local female who frequently enjoys spending time at that beach in a natural and relaxed setting. Despite witnessing occasional undesirable behaviour my overall experiences of the beach are very positive. It would be unjust and tragic to lose it.

  2. Experience elsewhere shows that the strategy recommended by the Towards Safe Beach Committee works. For example at Studland Beach in the UK the liaison committee was so successful that it received an award from national government for their good work.

  3. Great work and well written. Thank you to committee and the local police for all their hard work and positive communications. Please save the free nude beach,lets not lose it because of a few unwanted negative behaviour.

  4. It is very apparent and encouraging that the Police are as determined to eliminate bad behaviour by those people who persist in disturbing other people going about their lawful recreational activities. Nudists and naturists enjoying their time on the clothes optional beach at Tyagarah are as annoyed as local residents about bad behaviour, probably more so. Constructive progress has been made by The Towards Safe Beach Committee in conjunction with the Police toward eliminating the bad behaviour. If Motion 9.2 is adopted it will not stop bad behaviour in the area as too much of social media has promulgated the area for nefarious activity. Only successful Police prosecutions promulgated in the social media promotion of the area for anti-social activities will be a deterrent.

    It is in the interest of all Byron residents and beach goers to see and support the collaboration between The Towards Safe Beach Committee and the Police continue and not be destroyed by Council adopting Motion 9.2

  5. From what I have read here from the letter what is being established is a “Private Beach” where outsiders and other Australians cannot go.
    Private Beaches are owned by wealthy people and Byron Council being cash strapped are within their rights to rate the owners or tenants of this beach accordingly.

  6. It probably should be noted that the nudists are most probably not involved in any antisocial behavior occurring on the nude beach. It is almost always visiting miscreants who go to these very private places which are the only locations which get official approval for nude use. To think that nude beaches should be shut down because they attract criminals is like closing banks because they attract bank robbers. If authorities didn’t require that nude beaches be so remote this issue would disappear.

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