May 19, 2015 - 4:48 PM
PENTICTON - Controversy at Penticton’s clothing optional beach continues to heat up with the temperatures in the South Okanagan.
Today’s summer-like weather had several naturists basking in the warm sun and calm winds of Three Mile Beach, just days after new signage and what some say is a camera was erected on the property line of a landowner adjacent the public beach.
Ian Short of Three Mile Road, whose residence lies closest to the wooden staircase accessing the beach, said the sign was posted Friday on Cary Pinkowski’s property, immediately northeast of the public beach.
“I’ve been here six years, and that was the first time I met him,” said Short, who said a camera was mounted on the sign, pointing at the public beach. He wondered how another sign was going to deter anyone.
“In the six years I’ve been here, clothing optional was never an issue until last year. There was security on the beach, cameras, a fence and no trespassing signs then - how is another sign going to deter naturists?" he asked.
Short said the issue now is naturists using the public beach.
“Ninety-nine per cent of them are just down there for the sun,” he said, adding he didn’t have a problem with naturists who were being discrete.
“If it weren’t for the few engaging in illicit activities, it would be okay,” he said, noting several incidents last year where lewd activity could be clearly observed, in one instance on a house-boat moored just in front of the public beach.
Short said when the naturists were using the private beach, they stayed in amongst the foliage, creating “beautiful rock work.” He said the problems confronting Three Mile Beach — how to police immoral activity — were as difficult there as anywhere else.
Short said he was aware that Pinkowski had taken legal action against some naturists, but was having a hard time serving them notice. Short also wondered what role local participants played in erecting the sign, which mentioned the “Neighbourhood Association of Three Mile Beach” at the bottom.
Of five naturists on the beach today, four — two men and two women — were from outside the region and could not offer an opinion regarding the beach’s present controversy, other than to say they hoped it would remain clothing optional.
“A camera isn’t going to deter me from coming down here,” said one naturist, an unnamed resident who has been frequenting Three Mile Beach since 1985.
“I respect the property owner, and I’m not going to cross the property line,” she said, adding she was aware the sign was up on Friday, May 16, opting to stay away from the beach over the weekend.
“It’s terrible when you have to be ashamed of your own body,” she said, adding she would be monitoring naturist activity on the beach and “playing it by ear.”
Johann Wessels, who also lives on Three Mile Road, said he had “no problems with nudity, just problems with bad behaviour.”
"In Europe, they don’t tolerate bad behaviour. There’s no policing here,” Wessels said, adding he felt regular beach goers found clothing optional use of the public beach “uncomfortable.”
Wessels said bad behaviour was especially evident last year when residents discovered sex toys on the beach. The houseboat incident appeared to have been widely viewed, as Wessels noted it as well.
“I don’t want to be victimized just because I live here. I’ve contacted the RCMP about drunken behaviour here, but haven’t heard back from them,” he said, adding “federal laws say public nudity is against the law, but no one is prosecuting.”
Wessels said the neighbourhood has talked about a taking collective legal action to deal with the issue, adding he was aware Pinkowski had filed a civil suit against some naturists.
Three Mile Road property owner Cary Pinkowski could not be reached for comment.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015