Nudists fight for their community, heritage site

Nudists gather at Three Mile Beach to discuss their plans to keep the beach clothes optional.

PENTICTON - Nudists who use Three Mile Beach say they'll respect a private land owner's decision to fence off his property but they don't want to lose complete acess to the beach, a historical nudist location since the 1930s.

The small beach in Naramata is jointly owned by the City of Penticton, the provincial government and a private landowner, who asked to remain anonymous.

The private owner said he has no issues with the public using the beach or his property, but several issues with some nudists have prompted him to take action.

About a month ago, a wealthy developer interested in the property, which has been for sale for a few years, came to check out the beach but was chased away by the nudists, the owner said.

He said people have taken over the beach and are “nesting” on the property, and that doesn’t sit well with him or his family. He bought the property in 2006.

But nudists gathered at the beach today say they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush—not all are disruptive and disrespectful.

“I find it offensive that we’re blamed,” said Jacqueline C. Wachell, a frequent user of the nude beach. “There’s a stigma attached to nudism and it’s a lack of education.”

Wachell was joined by several other nudists at the beach this morning to figure how to react. The main goal is to reinforce the importance of the nude beach as a historic site, they said.

“This is normal, this is not an oddity, this isn’t a bunch of freaks,” Wachell said.

The nudists have said multiple times on social media and to reporters they are being respectful of the private owner’s wishes. They just don’t want to lose their beach, their community.

Dustin Wolchina, spokesperson for the nudists, said on Facebook “there is no use fighting over the beach,” even though he’s sad it’s closing. He started an online petition to save the beach, but they have a long way to go still — they have only 179 signatures on the petition. They want 1,000.

The public can still access crown land up to the high water mark, which the ministry marked yesterday. But a security guard working for the private owner will make sure you don’t step on private property.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at marcher@infotelnews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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