A bid to close Tyagarah beach to nude bathing was voted down by Greens mayor Simon Richardson’s casting vote at Thursday’s Council meeting (November 22).
A rescission motion by Cr Paul Spooner was knocked back, despite strong support by residents in public access, who claim the beach is still unsafe with lewd and offensive sexual behaviour.
Greens Cr Jannette Martin was absent.
Cr Spooner (Labor) sought to revoke the optional clothing status of the Tyagarah reserve, located at the end of Grays Lane. He instead called to establish a 12 month trial ‘Clothes Optional Declaration’ for the stretch of beach from ‘The Wreck’ north to the walking track south of Beaumonts Beach House.
Cr Richardson’s media release on Thursday sought to outline his rationale; he said he voted against ‘very reluctantly, as personally I strongly supported the rescission motion.’
‘I had already used my individual vote to support the rescission motion, however; I view the casting vote as a vote by the mayor to reflect the view of Council.’
The mayor highlighted the Safe Byron Beaches Committee, which will report back to Council every six months, ‘as a positive step to addressing anti-social behaviour.’
He says committee membership will include representatives from Council, as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, police, naturists and residents. It will be chaired by a councillor.
‘The committee will liaise with NSW Police and other agencies, develop rapid response and reporting protocols, implement strategies to support beach user groups and individuals, focus resources on identified problem locations (eg Grays Lane), consider how digital technologies can be deployed, draft a positive statement of community values and provide advice to Council.’
The mayor added, ‘The Council will also consider the allocation of $10,000 for the installation of cameras that will be able to record information such as vehicle registrations and anti-social behaviour.’
In a letter to the editor, sent to both The Echo and The Byron News, Cr Spooner said, ‘Byron councillors have sunken to a new low.’
‘For some of them it’s now okay to totally ignore the wishes of local residents.
’92 per cent of permanent residents in Tyagarah signed a petition calling for the nude beach to be revoked. That’s as high as the number of residents who wanted to stop CSG.
‘So, how did Crs Coorey, Ndiaye, Hunter and Cameron respond? They ignored the wishes of the local residents and voted to keep the beach open.
‘Local police have said it is no longer sustainable to police Tyagarah Beach to a safe level. ‘They just don’t have the resources.
‘Councillors need to acknowledge the sexual assaults and fear of women and men who no longer use the beach because of its isolation and not pretend we are managing this.
‘What will it take for these councillors to wake up and face the reality of what is occurring on their watch?
‘Is it time the state government stepped in to protect the residents of Tyagarah from the decisions of Byron Shire councillors?’