Archive for the 'Sunnyside' Category

Sunnyside on the radar

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Last time we had beach controversy in Victoria, it was our beach fight back in late 2006. In that particular case, Surf Coast Shire Council was being watched carefully by the other councils as one particular Councillor decided Pt Impossible should have it’s clothing optional status revoked. It took a smallish battle, and the community and common sense prevailed in the end – we worked hard to protect our beaches and keep them available for ALL beach users, and we’ve enjoyed a few quiet years since then without much controversy!

This time around, Sunnyside beach at Mt Eliza has popped up on the radar, but it doesn’t look like nudists are involved (or even being accused!!). After a little research, we think this is the summary story (and correct us if you know more than we do!): Charles Jacobsen (Char) is a retirement home operator who owns the beach front property previously owned by the late Sir Reginald Ansett and Myer family. It’s hard to tell from the boundaries, but it looks like the property in question is not bordering the CO beach at all, it seems to be the next beach further along to the north.

Anyway, it would appear Char has had battles concerning development of his property in the past, and prevailed. Char raised the hackles of equal opportunity groups and divided the Mornington Peninsula community by proposing a “gay proof fence” along the foreshore of his property! Wow!!

It does appear Char isn’t short of a quid, based on his donation of the foreshore land to council back in 2007 along with 10 years of maintenance, when the subdivision was first approved. If you are interested in the original submissions, Mornington Peninsula Shire has comprehensive meeting minutes available online, along with a map of the area in question and the proposed location of the fence.

You can check out the article in The Age and read all about it yourself – the request for the 400m fence is going to be heard by VCAT in the next couple of months.

As always people, do the right thing on our beaches and make sure nudists can never be accused of behaving inappropriately!!

Sunnyside waits for works

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

According to the latest article in the Mornington Peninsula Leader, Sunnyside beach has actually been waiting for works to be completed since a 2004 report rated carpark safety and maintenance a “high priority”.

That’s over 5 years ago!! According to the article (which you can read if you click here:

The council’s sustainable environment director Alex Atkins described replacing the toilet block as “major works”. Mr Atkins said major works were addressed on a priority basis.

Fair enough – the council, like all government “businesses”, has to prioritise how funds are used, so they can maximise return on the investment! But are we the only ones that have noticed a slight bit of inconsistency here?? Apparently the council is aware of the need to complete the “major works” on the toilets since the 2004 report stated that carpark safety and maintenance is a “high priority”, and yet there is a push to close the CO beach (which is over 300 meters away)??? And we’re guessing the report didn’t say anything about the CO beach itself (since that’s not where problems have been experienced historically!!)

Toilets and carparks are problematic at many beaches – just because there happens to be a CO beach nearby does not mean an automatic association should be made.

“Keep your hands off our beach”

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Righto then, sorry for the long post in advance!! It appears the nudist community is a pretty “positive action” kind of bunch!! To be fair, we have played a couple of games of “Council wants to close the beach” in the past – it’s never fun, the arguments are always the same, and the strategies that would be most effective are yet to be employed anywhere that we’re aware of (and there are positive steps that can be taken, we’ve read the report!!).

The title of this post is actually the first line of another article about Sunnyside pointed out to us today – Click here to read. According to the article:

The [Mornington Peninsula] Leader has been inundated with complaints since it revealed Mornington Peninsula Shire Council was determined to have Sunnyside North beach’s nudist status reviewed.

Well done everyone for showing your support for our beaches – we know there’s lots of support out there, and it’s nice to see it in action!! Any time an article about our beaches runs with a poll, we always see landslide wins in favour of keeping the beaches Clothing Optional (CO). If there are comments permitted, the trend is usually obvious pretty early – lots of support, and bunch of ambivalence (“who cares; if I don’t like it I just won’t use that beach; whatever…”), and the very small minority that actually seem to think clothing optional beaches are the root cause of all evil on earth!! Some of the comments are outlandish to say the least, just check some of the dissenting comments on last weeks article!!

But what is the real problem here? Is it really the fact that people are stripping off? Surely not – anyone who has visited a clothed beach these days has probably noticed how little there is in the way of clothing!! The real problem is that ALL beaches have a variety of problems, and ALL beaches require a combination of council, police and community cooperation to ensure a safe environment everyone can enjoy! But it’s hard to get that approach working effectively, or quickly – so the knee-jerk reaction is always the easy option. It’s important to remember that Victoria’s legal beaches are Clothing Optional, not “nude mandatory” – the nudist community is interested in a friendly and safe beach, definitely not to the exclusion of clothed users.

And here is the real kicker, for those of you that are new to these discussions – the “issues” that are constantly being cited as justification to close the CO beaches are not related to the beach itself!!. Beaches all along our coasts generally suffer from 2 issues – inappropriate behaviour in the carparks and toilets (drinking, cruising, drugs, etc); or inappropriate behaviour in sand dunes (where they exist behind the beaches). Police along the Surf Coast (where Pt Impossible is) noted during workshops held last year that there were exactly zero issues reported to them relating to the designated CO zone. And the Mornington Police noted a similar situation on this side of the bay:

Sgt Webster said few complaints relating to unsavoury behaviour came from the actual nudist beach.
He said they related mainly to behaviour in the toilet block and carpark.

The main challenge for the nudist community is perceptions. Nude does not equal sex. Nude does not equal lewd. Tarnishing nudists with broad generalisations helps no-one, and doesn’t solve any of the real issues!! It is in everyone’s interests to work together towards safe public spaces for everyone. Blaming nudists for inappropriate behaviour (of non-nudists!) in the carpark is akin to blaming a fast food restaurant for the pub brawl that happened next door (facetious perhaps, but you can see the point!).

And to finish:

The council was unable to comment on what it had done since a 2004 report rated Sunnyside beach carpark safety and maintenance a “high priority”.

The report said the council should consider removing or redesigning the toilet block, installing security lighting in the carpark and installing surveillance cameras.

That’s exactly the same path suggested by a coastal study done by Monash University late 2002, titled “Feasibility of Identifying Family Friendly Beaches along Victoria’s Coastline”. The suggestions for eliminating anti-social behaviour in beach carparks included better lighting, access redesigns, and improved facilities with better maintenance. Section 8.10 of the report if you are interested in reading further about the theories of “Crime prevention through environmental design”.

Removing the clothing optional status of Sunnyside will have exactly zero effect in resolving issues that are being experienced in the carparks and toilets. The nudist community will be quite vocal through this process, and has always supported open communication with all stakeholders in order to achieve a positive outcome for all beach users – a lot of data has been collected from the previous experience with the Surf Coast Shire over Pt Impossible, and already the initial observations have a familiar ring to them!

We encourage the council to contact the Australian Nudist Federation (details on the Links page), or drop us an email here so that we can forward contact details to appropriate representatives from the community. The nudist community has a lot of knowledge and experience relating to the beaches, and we will work hard to ensure that the clothing optional status is maintained.

BTW, credit again to Andrea Kellett, it was a good article that covered the facts and presented both sides of the story. As a minority community, fair and unbiased reporting has not always been provided in the past, so we do notice when the media covers all the relevant facts!

Another side note as well – please check out the About and Legal Stuff links – this site is simply an information portal. The official representatives of the nudist community are the Australian Nudist Federation and Free Beaches Australia (and not us, we just keep an eye on activity here in Victoria!)

Sunnyside under threat! Again…

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Sunnyside beach at Mt Eliza is now officially under threat – in the past there has been a few noises here and there about getting the CO status revoked, particularly around the same time Pt Impossible was being debated by the Surf Coast Shire Council. This time is different – the articles in the media have started!

An article appeared in the Franskston Leader titled “Bid to Strip Away Nudist Rights at Mt Eliza Nudist Beach – you can check out the article here: Click here. Another post will follow this with a high level analysis of the comments made in the article – we just want to go back and read up on the discussions from Pt Impossible, since this feels like deja vu!!

If anyone here recalls the beach battle over Pt Impossible a couple of years ago, you’ll probably know how this is going to play out. So we’re starting early on this one and asking that we all start “rallying the troops” so to speak. The same issues as Pt Impossible have already been raised, with the primary reasons given being antisocial behaviour in the car park and inappropriate use of the toilets! And again, like last time, we’d like to highlight the fact that neither of those areas are the clothing optional beach, and we expect the participants are not nudists!

We ask all beach users to continue to behave appropriately at our beaches. Victoria Police encourage people to call and report inappropriate or illegal behaviour, just like you would at any clothed beach. But most importantly, talk to each other, particularly at the beach itself – many of the beach users are not always online, may not see sites like this one or participate in the various forums, so chat to the person next to you and we can all stay informed.

It is almost certain you’ll see more articles on this topic over coming weeks – please lend your support and help fight to retain the status of the beaches we all use and enjoy! If anyone is willing to put their hand up and be involved, please let us or the forums know – there’s always a shortage of people who can attend council workshops, talk to the media, or be ready to go with comments on newspaper polls.

As a side note, kudos to Andrea Kellett, the journalist who wrote the article. It was a factual and objective piece, and didn’t follow any of the disappointing “cheap laugh” patterns we saw from articles in the papers across the bay last time we had a beach battle on our hands! We look forward to working with the media throughout this process to ensure that both sides of the argument are fairly and duly represented

Our beaches in The Age!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

A great article about all the beaches in The Age today. According to the article:

For more than 30 years, nudists have been getting their gear off around Melbourne. Here’s Metro’s guide to the best clothes-free beaches. Luke Buckmaster reports

Great comments from Barbara Rolfe, who represented the views of the nudist/naturist community very well in the article. Werner Jacob, president of the Nudist Association of Victoria, also made some excellent comments, so thanks to both of you.

More from the article:

Nakedness and liberation is an association widely echoed within the nudist community, but self-empowerment tends to mean little to those who campaign against public nudity. Pro-nude organisations such as Free Beaches Australia Incorporated claim their shores are constantly under threat from the nudity naysayers: councils, property developers and religious lobbyers.

To read the entire article, click here

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