August 14, 2015 - 2:30 PM
PENTICTON - A group of South Okanagan women are planning a topless march on Penticton city hall and hope their message about public nudity will be heard by the local city council.
Gail Owen, 65, is heading up a small committee planning the Go Topless event, which will start at in front of city hall at 1p.m., Aug. 23. The rally will then proceed to Okanagan Lake Park and down the length of the beach to the SS Sicamous, eventually returning to city hall.
She says they decided to hold the rally in Penticton in order to bring attention the councillors' attitude regarding nudity at Three Mile Beach. She hopes it will become an annual event.
“If the city had gone ahead and kept their promise about keeping Three Mile open and not having all the controversy they’re having about it, we’d just be rallying in Kelowna,” Owen says. She would like to see a demonstration in front of Penticton city hall, followed by a news conference and a trip to the beach.
Owen says she’s not sure how many people will be showing up for the rally. A number of people have indicated on Facebook they would be attending, but she says people have not been signing up.
“I will be there and I’ll be topless,” she says.
The Oliver resident has been riding her bicycle topless on the Kettle Valley Railway trail through that town for the last week and talking about the issue with everyone she meets. She says people have responded positively to her topless talks.
Owen says women are not allowed to go topless in Osoyoos parks.
“I talked to the bylaw enforcement officer and she said she has the right to arrest anyone who is topless,” Owen says.
She says her committee is waiting for Osoyoos council to deal with the topless issue at their meeting on Monday before deciding whether or not to hold an event there.
A Go Topless Day event is planned for Kelowna at 2 p.m., Aug. 23 at Mushroom Beach near City Park.
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— This story was updated at 4:02 p.m., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015 to update the start time for the Penticton rally.
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