Coolum may become home to the first official nudist beach on the Coast as The Free Beaches Association lobbies the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The Free Beaches Association president Anita Grigg said secluded beaches north of Stumers Creek in Coolum, south of Peregian Beach and Alexandria Bay have been earmarked as sites for a nudist or optional-clothing beach.
Ms Grigg said the sites were assessed according to distance from homes and accessibility to emergency services, which made Coolum a preferred option.
However, Member for Noosa Glen Elmes has come out strongly to oppose any attempts to establish an official nude beach or optional-clothing beach in Coolum. Mr Elmes has written to state government ministers and mayor Bob Abbot insisting Coolum was unsuitable for a nude bathing beach.
“Coolum has got a lot of families nearby and it’s not the right place,” he said.
Mr Elmes said the Noosa electorate already had unofficial nudist beaches at Alexandria Bay and Coolum’s Third Bay so there was no need for an official location anywhere in Coolum.
“To create another one just down the road is going too far…how many places do we need to have?” he said.
“Because of its isolation the community has been prepared to turn somewhat of a blind eye to Alexandria Bay but I absolutely refuse to consider the establishment of any other nude or optional-clothing beaches, official or unofficial.”
Mr Elmes said it was not the first time The Free Beaches Association had promoted this part of Coolum as a nude beach but he would stand his ground against the proposal.
“I opposed it then and I continue to oppose it now,” he said.
“I’m fighting a difficult enough battle with (police) minister Judy Spence to provide extra police for the Noosa electorate so the very last thing I want to see is our scarce police resources wasted on protecting a very small group of people who can just as easily enjoy the beach with their clothes on or swim at Alexandria Bay.
“I have no intention of trying to take on a vendetta to close down anything but I’m not having anything to do with promoting another one close to Stumers.”
But Anita Grigg said every care would be taken to ensure that locals and tourists were aware of any nudist beach so they could make a decision about visiting the location.
“We would put signs at either end of the beach to advise people of its use so people can make an informed choice,” she said.
“We’re not stopping anyone from using the beach and we’re not infringing on other people.”
Ms Grigg said there were thousands of people and more than 500 members across Australia who wanted an official nudist beach on the Coast without fear of being arrested.
While Ms Grigg accepted that nude beaches were considered improper by some, she said it provided a place for comfort and friendships.
“It’s a great social place in mixing people of like mindedness,” she said.
“Once upon a time, women were arrested for wearing a bikini.
“Since then the trend has come towards that sort of attire.”
Coolum Residents Association president Bob Walpole said he would rather see Alexandria Bay become an official nude beach.
“There is already essentially a recognised area at Alexandria Bay for most people who enjoy nude bathing, which is difficult to get to for young families,” he said
“We only need one on the Coast.”
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