Penticton nude beach battle heats up

The saga of property owners versus naturists at Three Mile Beach continues as a naturist was taken into custody by police.

The saga of property owners versus naturists at Three Mile Beach continues.

The saga of property owners versus naturists at Three Mile Beach continues.

The saga of property owners versus naturists at Three Mile Beach continues as a naturist was taken into custody by police during a Canada Day potluck.

RCMP wouldn’t confirm the identity of the woman, but Jacqueline Wachell told the Western News that she was the one taken into custody.

Wachell said she’s been a non-denominational and non-governmental minister for the past few years and hopes to find a resolution between the naturists and the property owners.

“We have an opportunity here to aid not only an officer in taking note of his professional manner but also to aid in getting a completion of this feud in our community,” Wachell said. “I had an opportunity to see things on many levels (July 1).”

Wachell said she was the author of the multiple notices that were delivered to property owners around the beach citing Bible verses. In it she asks that the “sun-bathing ministers of Three Mile North Bay” be respected in their access to the area, in what she says is a legal document.

Wachell added she and her fellow naturists are looking to have a town-hall style gathering to get to the root of the problem.

“To help people decide what they want,” Wachell said. “We need to make decisions and we need to come together. We’re down there to sunbathe and to swim and to socialize,” she said.

However, according to Wayne Bazen, who owns property near the beach, that’s not the case.

Bazen was planning on building a home on the property in April. However, he said that due to incidents involving himself, fellow property owners and naturists who frequent the beach, he is no longer following through with his plans.

“I spend a whole bunch of money buying a lot, getting a house designed, contracting a builder. I’m two weeks away from starting to build and I pull the pin because I’m not going to live there,” Bazen said.

He said he stopped construction of the house due to multiple instances where he and other property owners allegedly have been involved in altercations with naturists, seen people having sex in the lake midday and found used condoms and sex toys on the beach.

Penticton RCMP said there have been a “few (calls) a week” to the beach and it is “absolutely” taxing on their resources.

“On both party’s sides they want a definitive answer, are the courts going to support the nudists or are they going to support the landowners?” Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski said.  “Obviously there needs to be a resolution to this because us, as the police, are getting pulled into the middle and it’s not fair to anybody.”

“There are two extremes and we can’t support any of the breaking of law.”

Dustin Wolchina, a naturist who frequents the beach, said an annual Canada Day potluck with over 100 people was going on when police were called to the beach.

“We want the RCMP present definitely, and we want the bullying to stop,” Wolchina said, adding he feels it hurts the economy when tourists are discouraged from attending the beach.

Bazen said the landowners have done nothing to the naturists.

“Not one of us landowners at Three Mile Beach has done so much as to lift one finger against them,” Bazen said.

“They think they have the right and they put up signs and post ‘this is a public nude beach, you may see nudity here proceed with caution.’ It’s a public beach, it’s a Penticton public beach and you know what? Penticton is a beach town,” Bazen said.

“We as citizens pay property tax and we’re entitled to private enjoyment of our property, which means we’re entitled to police protection to make people not commit criminal acts, this is all pretty basic logic.”

Bazen is also unhappy with city council’s decision to leave the situation at the status quo.

“Council is tolerating it and saying ‘well it’s always been a nude beach’,” Bazen said. “It’s deplorable that our council doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to deal with this.”

On the other side of the fence, Wachell is in favour of the council decision, but still feels that some issues need to be addressed.

“We’ve got a mayor and city council who said it’s status quo and everybody get along. We’ve got a few people who refuse to do that on the beach, we have a few officers who seem to be confused on the matter and we need to all come as a community together and make a decision,” Wachell said.

In April, a lawsuit was launched by Hermitage Vineyards Ltd., owned by Three Mile land owner Cary Pinkowski and his family, against Dustin Wolchina and Jacqueline Wachell, Kevin Proteau, Brenda Allen, Richard Giles and Ken Shaw.