The idea to establish a 12-month trial 'Clothes Optional Declaration' for Belongil Beach in Byron Bay has been touted.
The idea to establish a 12-month trial 'Clothes Optional Declaration' for Belongil Beach in Byron Bay has been touted. Jasmine Burke

'Somebody think of the children': Nude beach move response

"RIDICULOUS" is how some residents have described the possibility of a motion to establish a 12-month trial 'Clothes Optional Declaration' for Belongil Beach in Byron Bay.

Greens Byron Shire Councillor Michael Lyon is considering a motion before the next council meeting to establish the trial for the stretch of beach from 'The Wreck' north, to the walking track south of Beaumont's Beach House. 

A joint media release from Cr Lyon and Ballina MP Tamara Smith said "the ultimate goal will be to eventually close Tyagarah nude beach while still providing a space for naturalist activities at Belongil".

"Police have told us that (Tyagarah's) isolation means that continued monitoring is unsustainable and makes it an appealing spot for undesirable and anti-social behaviour," Cr Lyons said.

"A clothing optional trial on a stretch of Belongil beach would be less isolated and more easily monitored. If the trial is successful we can close Tyagarah nude beach while providing a safer alternative for naturalists."

On a Byron Community Board Facebook post Nicqui Yazdi said she thought it wasn't acceptable.

"The Wreck beach is the most used by our local teens. What are they going to do? They don't want nudity shoved in their faces, right in town, it's the last thing they want."

Steph Rouillon said she would consider it as "a non child friendly beach" if it were to occur, for fear of "potentially inappropriate behaviour from men".

But naturists say they want the clothing optional beach to stay at Tyagarah, and there has been a decrease in lewd behaviour since increased police presence.

Byron Bay Naturist's Debra Lee Conomy said it wasn't genuine naturist's that cause the concern but "the predators".

"Extend it south another 1300 metres from where it is now and solves the problem rather than moving it," Ms Conomy wrote on Facebook.

"There has already over a 13 month period been a huge clean up on Tyagarah to eradicate the total inappropriate behaviour caused by a very small minority who just don't get Nude is not Lewd."

Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP said she had met with groups worried about Tyagarah.

"I have many concerns about what has become of Tyagarah Beach in the last few years. It is simply no longer a place for locals and mellow visitors to enjoy a nude swim and sunbake," Ms Smith said.

"The police reports and advice to me over some time is that the beach has become a hot spot for sexual assaults and sexual harassment. The remoteness of the beach has only intensified this.

"I have met with residents and members of the Safe Beaches Committee and I commend them on their positive approach to finding a win-win solution.

"I know that nobody supports the idea of promoting a culture of sexual assault at one of our beaches under the cloak of naturalism."

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