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Nudes get under the skin

Penticton Mayor Garry Litke has sent a report to the Penticton RCMP, after hearing concerns from residents about nudity at Three Mile Beach.

The main worry is that people who have been denied access to the longtime clothing optional beach at the location are now using the public beach.

"The neighbours' concerns are not with nudity per se, but that it is taking place in front of children," said Litke, who met with some residents Tuesday. "One of the residents said I would like to have my grandchildren come to the beach, but they can't."

The issue has been floating around for weeks, since the private property owner put up no trespassing signs and hired security guards to patrol the former nude beach, near the public beach.

Litke said he started doing some research, as well as hearing from both sides, those who used the nude beach and the property owner, when the situation surfaced.

Both sides had wanted to come to a council meeting, but he felt it was an RCMP matter.

The report he sent to Penticton RCMP Inspector Kevin Hewco on Tuesday, contains a number of citizen complaints and includes Google ads of naked men soliciting naked partners at Three Mile Beach, the mayor said.

The mayor also cited the Criminal Code of Canada 174. (1), subtitled nudity, which reads as follows: "everyone who without lawful excuse is nude in a public place, or is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

Two property owners also met with MLA Dan Ashton on Monday about the nude beach moving over to the public beach.

Ashton said it was his understanding it would be a City or RCMP issue.

A spokesman for the clothing optional group said they are assessing the situation and will issue a statement in coming days.

When the nude beach was closed in May, they expressed regret, saying people have used it for this purpose since the 1930s and it gets visitors from all over the world.

They stated at the time, they wanted to be respectful of the property owner and had a strong interest in conserving the environment in the area.

Litke said he would rather they find a new location, than continuing to use the public beach.

"An expression of freedom is permitted as long as it does not infringe on the freedom of other people," he said.

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