Naturists slam calls for nude beach closure
A NATURIST group has hit back at calls for a North Coast nudist beach to be closed.
Byron Naturists member Debra Conomy said Byron Shire Council's decision on October 18 to keep the clothing optional area at Tyagarah open was "a win" for her group.
"We had a win, five councillors voting for keeping the clothing optional (area) open," Ms Conomy said.
She said this included plans for CCTV and for the naturists group to "keep an eye on things".
Ms Conomy said there had been fewer problems at the beach.
"There's been a huge clean up down there," she said.
She said an allegation of an indecent act at Grays Lane last week was still before the courts.
"You need to actually look at the evidence provided," she said.
"These are alleged offences.
"This is still an alleged charge."
Ms Conomy said anti-social issues at the beach and in Tyagarah Nature Reserve had been decreasing over time.
She said the clothing-optional area wasn't to blame.
"We hope we can keep it open," she said.
Byron Shire councillor Paul Spooner has meanwhile lodged a rescission motion to reverse the council's ongoing support of the clothing optional area.
"I wasn't present at the meeting last month where that decision was passed, to maintain the declaration," Cr Spooner said.
He was "immediately" approached by community members who felt "dismay that council had decided to ignore the calls for it to be closed".
"I put in my rescission the day after," he said.
That motion will be considered at the council's meeting next Thursday.
But Cr Spooner said it was "not about nudity".
"It's about sexual assault and sexual harassment of people in a public place," he said.
"It's about people's safety, at the end of the day.
"I remember going there in the early days of the declaration and it was a friendly place, it wasn't a creepy place."
He said the rise of social media had allowed people to more easily market the area as a destination for public sexual activities.
"I don't think it's appropriate, in 2018 to ignore the reality of sexual harassment," he said.
"The reality is this location is too isolated to continue as a nude beach."
Cr Jan Hackett will support the rescission motion, and said isolation was the key problem at Tyagarah.
"I want to support the majority of people who want safe beaches and don't want lewd behaviour on the beaches or to feel unsafe or threatened," Cr Hackett said.
"We can't police it because it's so far out of town.
"We need to have it in a place where it's not going to attract these sorts of people because of its isolation."