Authorities have twisted a workshop vote against nudism at Point Impossible in a bid to save the beach’s clothing-optional status, according to participants.
Surf Coast Community and Ratepayers Association’s Lyn Smith and councillor Ron Humphrey said the shire’s public statement on the outcome of the workshop had omitted its vote in support of banning nudists.
Sixteen representatives of nudists, the public, Surf Coast Shire, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, police and State Government attended the workshop to address concerns about men meeting in dunes behind the beach for sex.
After the workshop shire chief executive officer Peter Bollen put out a press release saying: “The majority did not want to advocate for the State Government to revoke the optional dress status without first trying to improve behaviour through the measures identified”.
But Mrs Smith said she could “not believe” the published findings of the workshop.
“(The press release) didn’t cover the main thing, which was that the majority at the meeting followed the council view that the clothing-optional status should be removed,” she said.
“The agreed outcomes (in the statement) were not even agreed upon.
“Some of the stuff in the press release wasn’t even discussed.”
Cr Humphrey called the meeting a “waste of ratepayers’ money”.
“We never even went to the scene of the crime,” he said.
“If we went down to the beach we would have seen orgies.
“If it’s a crime scene then you examine the site. We shouldn’t have been making decisions without seeing the site.”
Cr Humphrey said the meeting had disregarded a letter from council to the Planning Minister in June asking for the Government to remove the beach’s clothing-optional status.
“Last year we asked for the removal of the clothing optional status because of the location of the beach, development and future development,” he said.
“The whole issue of potential growth wasn’t even addressed at the meeting.”
The statement said the meeting had agreed on a range of actions to address “behaviour” at Point Impossible.
The actions included supplying Torquay Police with four-wheel-drive vehicles to patrol the beach and erecting keep-out signs and fences along the dunes.
The Independent revealed last week that Great Ocean Road Coast Committee had begun work on “dune rehabilitation” at Point Impossible, including fences and keep-out signs.
The shire will put a summary of workshop outcomes on display for public comment until March 9.
A shire spokesperson said council would review feedback before reporting back to the Planning Minister on the public’s input.
Former Planning Minister Rob Hulls told council last year to run community consultation before he would consider the shire’s application for a ban on nudists at Point Impossible.