Fight continues over fate of nude beach in Penticton

Dustin Wolchina speaks to reporters this spring after access to a nude beach on private property at Three Mile Beach was cut off. The battle continues nearly two months later. - Western News file photo
Dustin Wolchina speaks to reporters this spring after access to a nude beach on private property at Three Mile Beach was cut off. The battle continues nearly two months later.
— image credit: Western News file photo

Duelling petitions are underway as the fight continues over the fate of Penticton’s nude beach.

A property owner in the Three Mile Beach area last week launched his campaign, which calls on government and police to crack down on nudists using the public portion of the waterfront there.

“We’re close to 200 (names). These are real signatures, real people, real addresses, and, most importantly, a good portion of them are from that neighbourhood,” said Cary Pinkowski, who owns the private property next to Three Mile Beach that nudists for decades used to sunbathe in the buff away from prying eyes.

He tried for years to sell the seven-hectare property, but the nude beach was a problem for buyers, so in May he hired security guards to keep people out.

Nudists then moved down to the public portion of the beach, prompting Pinkowski and others to raise complaints with the RCMP and Penticton city council, then launch the petition.

“The neighbourhood is just up in arms from the nudists taking over a family beach,” he explained.

Pinkowski said he’s now taken his property —last listed for $3.5 million — off the market due to the turmoil, but would be willing to sell just the waterfront portion to anyone interested in converting it back to its former use.

Meanwhile, the nude sunbathers started their petition a few months back. It calls for the preservation of a portion of the public beach as clothing optional, and had 700 signatures as of Thursday.

Dustin Wolchina, an unofficial spokesman for the group, suggested the dispute could be resolved by placing a sign at the top of the stairs leading down to the beach to warn people that clothing is optional beyond that point.

Penticton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said Mounties are suggesting a similar common-sense solution: nudists keeping to the far end of the beach where they have some privacy but are also away from people who may be offended by seeing them in their birthday suits.

“We’re mindful, we’re trying to work with both sides, and we’re caught in the middle of trying to deal with an issue that’s very much a community tolerance issue,” Dellebuur said.

“We still get complaints about it, and what we’re trying to do is get both sides to come to a compromise so they can kind of get along.”

Dellebuur confirmed Mounties have been monitoring Three Mile Beach, but made no arrests.


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