RESIDENTS living near Mount Eliza’s “nude” beach Sunnyside North are overwhelmingly in favour of shedding the “clothes optional” status.
However, people who live outside the area believe it should remain clothing free.
Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors will this week (at their 6 December meeting) consider the results of a community survey and a council officer’s recommendation that the clothing optional status of the Sunnyside North Beach is maintained.
Earlier this year the council asked the community whether the beach should retain its clothing optional status and received 4285 responses that have now been assessed.
All respondents were asked if they thought “Sunnyside North beach should remain a clothing optional beach”, with 3865 answering yes, and 420 saying no.
Of the 94 residents who lived close to the beach and are most impacted by visitor behaviour in the area, only 14 wanted the clothing optional status to remain.
Councillors will decide on whether to ask the state government to remove the clothing optional status of the beach.
The beach – which was declared clothing optional in 1986 under the Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 198 – has become a headache for council and police due to reports of unsavoury behaviour.
Last year, when the council voted to write to then planning minister Richard Wynne to seek a review of the beach’s status, the shire’s water and coasts team leader Laura Crilly said there was an ongoing problem with illegal and anti-social behaviour, which she said was a police matter.
“This is not exclusively associated with the clothing optional status. However, it is difficult for police to access the area as activities are often a long way from the carpark,” she said.
“Much of the behaviour is occurring within the foreshore vegetation, above the beach, often within private property boundaries.”
The review was also sparked by lockdown when families were unable to travel to beaches outside of a five-kilometre radius of where they lived.
At the time Cr Steve Holland said all peninsula beaches were busy over summer and it seemed “like a waste” to have Sunnyside North unable to be used by families and residents due to the clothing optional status.
Last week, the now-mayor gave assurances that council would “carefully weigh up the wishes of both nearby residents and the broader community when making a decision on next steps”.