Vancouver’s nude beach to clean up its act?

Photo courtesy Lauren Kresowaty/niftynotcool.com.

Photo courtesy Lauren Kresowaty/niftynotcool.com.

The upcoming Victoria Day long weekend is traditionally the start of warm summer weather in Vancouver. And one thing that hundreds if not thousands of locals and visitors like to do on this occasion – weather permitting – is flock to Wreck Beach, the clothing-optional destination in Pacific Spirit Park. However, it looks like the carefree lifestyle currently enjoyed on Western Canada’s favourite nude beach is about to change.

The RCMP has announced that, beginning this weekend and continuing through to Labour Day, it’s going to maintain a daily presence – to pitch a tent, as it were – on the beach. So what will they be doing down at the remote location, which is located west of UBC and, fittingly, not far from the Museum of Anthropology? Will they be issuing fines to people who sing Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge”? Or will they be arresting people like the woman who has (allegedly) been selling “boozie boozie freezies” on the beach for the last few years?

It’s hard to say.

The RCMP’s goal, Sgt. Drew Grainger told The Province newspaper, is “to proactively enhance our presence on the beach.” He also said, “We know drugs and alcohol will be sold on the beach no matter how heavy-handed we are.” According to the report, Grainger said that “the problem is those who consume drugs or alcohol in excess at the remote beach.

“’There are 465 steps (leading up from the beach to Marine Drive). It’s onerous to remove someone who’s had too much.'”

For many, the beach’s isolation – it’s at the foot of a cliffside bordering the University of British Columbia – is part of its attraction, though that’s not enough to keep away thousands of beach-goers. According to the Wreck Beach website, the 7.8 kilometre stretch of sand is the busiest in the Lower Mainland, and attracts 12-14,000 visitors at the height of the season

Writing in the National Post, Marnie Soupcoff, director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation questions the RCMP’s decision to “focus on a set of victimless crimes… leaves the impression that the force considers its own convenience paramount, and certainly of greater import than Canadians’ individual liberties.”

Previously, the RCMP would patrol the beach on a regular basis. But having a permanent presence is something new.

What do you think of the RCMP’s decision to set up on Wreck Beach? Will it wreck the vibe?

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