Nude beach at Tyagarah off Grays Lane.
Nude beach at Tyagarah off Grays Lane. Marc Stapelberg

Fears CCTV will not improve safety at nude beach

THE contentious Tyagarah Reserve could soon be littered with security cameras and additional signage if a motion passes at today's Byron Shire Council meeting for immediate funding for the cameras.

Cr Alan Hunter will put forward the notice of motion asking that the $10,000 funding required for the Tyagarah Reserve cameras and related signage be immediately allocated from the council's unrestricted reserve funds.

The council agreed at a former meeting that as a "part of the strategy in addressing the inappropriate and lewd behaviour at the beach and in the car park" an allocation of $10,000 would be made available from Council's current budget for the installation of up to 20 battery operated cameras.

Council's Manager Open Space and Resource Recovery said to resource the management of the cameras, a routine inspection program shall be implemented that includes a weekly visual inspection for identification and rectification of theft or vandalism of equipment and signage.

"A monthly inspection to confirm functionality will also be required," they said in a council report.

"Physical retrieval of footage on request from Authorities is to be undertaken by field staff and provided to Legal Services for processing and actioning of the request."

In the report staff said aside from the initial cost of $10,000 for installation of the cameras and related signage, Council should also consider the funding need for ongoing maintenance and resourcing for the retrieval of recorded footage.

While naturists have said lewd behaviour has decreased in time and since increased police presence other concerned members of the community say they fear the CCTV would have a minimal effect on people's safety.

Tyagarah resident and member of the Tyagarah Community Association Richard Burford said he thought issues with the CCTV would include: "vandalism, perpetrators avoiding the cameras by going as far as the Tea Tree Lakes only and accessing the beach from Sunrise".

Labor candidate for Ballina, Asren Pugh said he will call on council to shut down the clothing optional area.

"The decision on clothes optional beaches should normally stay with council, but they need to act responsibly and ensure the safety of beach users. If Council fails to act for public safety, then a Labor Government will," Mr Pugh said.

"I have met with local residents and share their concerns that the beach is currently unsafe. The submissions of local police reinforces this position. It is only with great reluctance that that I support the intervention of the state government, but because of councils failure to act it has now come to that."

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