July 07, 2015 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON - The impasse over naturist use of Three Mile Beach could be decided by the courts with Penticton RCMP recommending public nudity charges.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Kurt Lozinski says police responded to a public nudity complaint at the beach on July 1. They arrested an individual for obstruction and public nudity after the person failed to identify themselves. Lozinski says the person was later identified, charged and then released on a promise to appear in court on July 29. Part of the release conditions include a ban from Three Mile Beach.
Lozinski says police are developing a file to advance to Crown for charge approval.
“We advance cases to provincial Crown, whose responsibility is to assess paperwork and approve charges,” Lozinski says, adding Crown should receive the package this week and make any recommended charges, if any.
Lozinski says some determination needs to be made for this area, adding Supreme Court decisions from all over Canada will be taken into account when determining the matter.
“I think everyone needs a definitive answer on the direction that needs to be taken, on all parties, whether that be the city, the police, the Crown, the naturists or the homeowners in the area,” Lozinski says.
He adds Crown would have to make a determination in this case in order to determine the direction the police would be going.
Controversy over public nudity at the beach arose last summer when a private landowner on the beach voiced objections to naturists using his property. Police fielded numerous calls to the beach for public nudity complaints last summer, but did not lay charges.
Earlier this spring, the matter was brought before city council in an attempt by both residents of the area and naturists using the beach to have the city sanction their side of the argument. The city refused to take sides in the matter, leaving the question of naturist use of the public beach as a legitimate use in limbo, potentially for another summer.
Lozinski says calls for public nudity at Three Mile Beach have been on the rise in the last couple of weeks. He says the issue of trespassing on the private property of Carey Pinkowski seems to have been resolved following the placement of a sign along the property’s edge earlier in the year, but beach area residents continue to be upset at naturist use of the public portion of the beach.
Lozinski says the Penticton detachment is already dealing with high call volumes and tight staffing levels, and calls for complaints of public nudity at the beach often took time to investigate. He says he understands the frustration of Three Mile Beach residents, but notes although nudity is the number one issue for the residents, it isn't for the police.
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