Durban - Where there is a beach there is the debate… can people bare all?
Now the Hibiscus Coast Municipality on the South Coast is mulling over the idea of a nudist beach. The KZN Naturist Association has made a formal application for a beach between Port Shepstone and Port Edward to be declared nudist friendly.
But many people on the South Coast are against the idea.
The portion of beach identified is part of Mpenjati Beach, north of the lagoon and the Blue Flag Trafalgar Beach. It falls within the Trafalgar Marine Reserve.
In its application, the naturist group said many overseas tourists were familiar and comfortable with topless and naturist beaches, and that an “officially designated nudist beach” would attract tourists.
It said the standard code of conduct that governed existing nudists would be strictly adhered to.
Owing to the “unique nature” of the application, the municipality has called for public comment.
Those wishing to oppose or support the application have until tomorrow to do so.
Municipal spokesman Simon Soboyisa said it had already received “a lot of comments”.
“About 80 percent are opposed to the (nudist) beach and 20 percent support it.”
Community meetings will also be held in rural areas near the beach.
Soboyisa said the matter would be discussed and recommendations would be made at the council meeting next week.
Christo Bothma, chairman of the naturist association, said he was “holding thumbs” that the application would be approved.
He explained that the particular portion of beach identified was secluded, although secure, and not well frequented.
“We think it is the ideal area for such a thing. There are a lot of naturists in that community, so the beach would be fairly accessible to them.”
Asked why a beach had been identified, Bothma said the province had limited spaces that could be used for nudists, and that there were no naturist-friendly bed ’n’ breakfast establishments.
For the nudist community to enjoy a weekend away to practise their lifestyle, they needed to book entire accommodation establishments which was costly.
But the Trafalgar Conservation Group – of which the marine reserve is a part – has objected to the nudist beach.
Chairman David Holt-Biddle said he had sent his objection outlining various reasons for his disapproval. Among them was that the beach fell within the Trafalgar Marine Reserve, a proclaimed nature reserve.
Being near a Blue Flag beach was an issue that “spoke for itself”, he said. “It is a family-orientated beach, and people amble down here to the nature reserve. It is a KZN Wildlife nature reserve. So, no, we definitely do not think this is a good idea.”
Holt-Biddle dismissed the motivation that a nudist beach would attract tourists. “I can’t see why anyone would say that it will be good for tourism… I think it would attract a number of undesirables.”