GET A ROOM: Byron Bay Mayor says beach is not a 'gay beat'
BYRON Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said Tyagarah Beach should not be used as "some sort of gay beat" or place for men to "prey on women".
His comments follow a police crackdown on illegal nudity at the beach last week which saw 15 beach goers and couple fined for having sex.
Police found two naked men engaged in a sexual act 400m out of the designated clothing optional area.
"Bottom line is there is a community expectation that an individual or a family should be able to go to the beach and not have to go past some lewd sexual act or be objectified in the way so many women are," Cr Richardson said.
"A gay beat or some sort of male sexual space to prey on women is not acceptable.
"It's not acceptable in Tyagarah, it's not acceptable anywhere, get a pool and do it in your own private house."
Tyagarah has become notorious over the past few years with reports of sex pests and sexual assaults on the isolated stretch of beach.
Increased signage in the area had improved things, Cr Richardson said.
"Obviously when you change such a situation like that some will get caught out in the transition," he said.
"I'm hearing Tyagarah is now far safer for families and for anyone who just wants to go to the beach, wear what they want to wear including nothing."
Cr Richardson favours all beaches in the Byron Shire being clothing optional.
"I support nude bathing," he said.
Councillor Paul Spooner said the way to break down Tyagarah's reputation and stigma was to reconsider his motion to include more beaches for nude bathing.
"Having one small section of beach at Tyagarah is clearly not adequate," Cr Spooner said.
"By just having one area where nude bathing was allowed (it) has promoted it as an area for other activities to occur."