Getting rid of sex pests and other inappropriate behaviour is the main issue for everyone including residents, councillors, naturists and other beach users at the clothes-optional beach in Tyagarah and the surrounding area including the tea-tree lakes. How to respond to the situation is being debated at the upcoming Byron Shire Council meeting this Thursday, October 26 where councillor Paul Spooners has put forward a notice of motion (NoM) to remove the status of the clothes-optional beach at Tyagarah.
Local Tyagarah resident of 21 years Gwen Gould supported the beach being declared clothes optional in 1998 and continues to today but recognises that there are many issues with the area.
‘I swim down there naked all the time,’ said Gwen.
‘I’m 76 and I love to go down there and swim naked but I have been harassed so many times. So often you have to deal with theses aggressive, offensive people. I’m really conflicted. I love the freedom but I hate the hassle.’
Similar views can be heard from many of the other residents who have become so frustrated with the situation that many are now calling for the clothes-optional status of the beach to be removed.
‘What needs to be understood is that the nude status has created a vacuum attracting predominantly men attracted to the area with sexual expectations,’ said local resident Raphael Benn.
‘This is due to the fact that websites and blogs for both gay and heterosexual i.e. beat and dogging activities are advertised.’
Resident Fabrizio Calafuri is strongly opposed to the maintaining the clothes-optional beach saying, ’It does not serve the purpose originally intended… it now attracts unsavoury characters who behave inappropriately. Many display extreme forms of inappropriate behaviour.
‘By removing the clothes-optional status it will provide clear demarcation that can be effectively policed and a clamp down on nudity on the beach will deter the unsavoury characters from attending it.
‘Remote locations such as Tyagarah need to be avoided. A more mainstream location, where Surf Life Saving Club can have a presence and where there is better car parking and facilities would be an improvement.’
While local councillor Alan Hunter agrees that the isolation of the site has contributed to the issues he has suggested that perhaps ‘we could find somewhere else and make more clothes optional beaches available and have three or four sprinkled across the shire.’
Grays Lane traffic
High levels of traffic travelling at speed on Grays Lane, that is primarily a gravel road, has also become an issue.
‘We have so many people tearing along that dirt road and there are a couple of corners that are really dangerous,’ pointed out Gwen.
‘Once I was abused by someone because I stopped the traffic to let a snake cross the road.’
This was supported by Fabrizio who pointed out that there has been ‘a visible increase in road kill.
‘Local residents are very sensitive about the natural fauna and have put up signs asking traffic to slow down. Those who use Grays lane as access for naturalist activity often can be seen hurtling along the road at inappropriate speed. Not only are they a danger to the wildlife, but also to local residents using the road.’
No united front
However, the local community is not united in how to respond to the issues around the clothes-optional status of the beach with many residents not wanting the chance to swim naked at their local beach taken away.
Gerd Kuhlmann who has lived at Tyagarah for 31 years said, ‘I still support it even though there are difficulties. I don’t think the solution to remove the nudist beach will make it safer.
‘There should be clear rules about appropriate behaviour on the beach. Nudist should not be allowed in the dunes, in the carpark and not around the tea tree lake.’
If you have an opinion on the whether the status should be removed or remain in place contact your local council members to express your views.