May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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UBC high-rise residences to overlook nude beach

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

What can cramp anyone’s style at a nude beach in sunny British Columbia? Nothing really, except for a few 20-storey high-rise residences that offer rooms with a view.

The University of British Columbia is building four new high-rise residence buildings overlooking Wreak Beach, an area that is renowned for its birds and its beaches — of the nude variety.

Judy Williams, chair of the Wreak Beach Preservation Society, said she has been fighting a battle against the UBC administration to relocate the new buildings, noting these buildings will erode the cliffs they are built upon and adversely affect wildlife, particularly eagles which breed and migrate in the region.

“It would destroy the beach as we know it and as future generations would know the beach,” she said, adding the university has an obligation to consider the costs to the environment and the community in building the residences in such a scenic natural area.

Williams also pointed out other ramifications the construction would have on the clothing-optional beach, which she stated would be in clear view from the windows of the student residences.

“There are students who aren’t used to nudity,” she declared. “You’ll get parents confronting the university,” she added, noting BC’s lax enforcement of nudity laws could change for the worse if the nude beach is placed before the public in such a birds-eye view fashion.

Stepane Deschênes, media relations director of the Federation of Canadian Naturalists, an organization committed to representing and endorsing nudism, dismissed Williams’ fears over the future of the nude beach. “The beach is a public beach, so that’s not as much of a concern.

“The issue isn’t really a naturalist one, but preserving the beach itself,” he added.
Dennis Pavlich, VP-external affairs of UBC defended the university’s decision to build the residence overlooking Wreak Beach. “It’s an ideal spot, it’s close to the academic heart of the university, it’s where most of the other residences are located ,” he said, “[and] it’s very pretty.”

The residence will not have a view of the nude beach below, he said, noting a clear view of the beach is only visible from 12 metres higher than the proposed height of the buildings. “We will not encroach on the privacy of the bathers.”



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