City Council postpones vote on La Jolla Children’s Pool closure

Children's Pool beach, just prior to the installation of a year-round guideline rope intended to keep humans a safe distance from seals. A City Council vote to close the beach during the seals pupping season was postponed Oct. 29. File

A proposal to prohibit people from going onto the beach at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla during harbor seals pupping season was postponed by the San Diego City Council Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The proposed beach ban would have been in effect from between Dec. 15 and May 15, when the seals are birthing and weaning their young. According to the city, the move is the next step in protecting the seals because people are continuing to harass them.

Before the City Council had a chance to consider the proposal, however, city staff said an issue with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) had come up and asked for a postponement. It could be January before the plan goes back to the council.

City staff was going to ask the council to designate the beach as an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), one potential regulatory step that could be used to close the beach to people. The city says protection of fragile coastal resources trumps public beach access in state law, and the CCC staff supports the proposed closure, but not necessarily the ESHA designation.

A letter to the City Council and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria from the Coastal Commission staff dated Oct. 25 states that while CCC staff is “supportive of the city’s proposal to impose seasonal restrictions, including full beach closure to the public during the pupping season, we do not support an ESHA designation at Children’s Pool as part of the subject LCP (Local Coastal Plan) amendment. Within areas designated as ESHA, only resource-dependent uses are allowed, which would preclude many activities normally associated with the beach, including, but not limited to sunbathing, accessing the water, passive recreational uses and possible repair/maintenance of the breakwater. Under the Coastal Act, marine mammal protection and maximum public access opportunities are both mandated.”

The letter goes on to state, “As discussed with city staff, other jurisdictions which have designated marine mammal haul-out areas and/or rookeries as ESHA do not share the same site-specific conditions present at Children’s Pool, including its close proximity to an intense urban setting, ease in accessibility, major populations bases for both local residents and visitors at large, dedicated user groups and the city’s joint use management strategy that has allowed people and seals to share the beach.”

After consulting with its staff ecologist and legal counsel, the letter states, CCC staff “recommends that seasonal restrictions be considered based on the protection of marine resources pursuant to Section 30230 of the Coastal Act.”

The CCC letter includes suggested amendments to the city’s proposed Local Coastal Program amendment that removes formation of an ESHA as an option.

The city has already erected a rope spanning the beach that’s now up year-round to discourage people from getting to close to the seals, but it leaves a three-foot opening to allow access for divers, spear fishers and swimmers who still choose to access the shoreline.

City documents say the rope has “not completely resolved inappropriate interactions between seals and citizens,” and that people are continually flushing the seals into the water.

In March, then-Mayor Bob Filner issued an emergency order to close the beach at night to stop harrassment of marine mammals that was caught on videotape. Besides the rope, the city has installed signs asking people to leave the seals alone.

The presence of the marine mammals has been a lightning rod in the area for two decades, pitting beach access advocates against those who support animal rights. The Children’s Pool was deeded to the city in 1931 as a sheltered area for kids to swim.

—City News Service/La Jolla Light reports

Related posts:

  1. La Jolla Children’s Pool one step closer to winter beach closure for seals pupping season
  2. La Jolla News Briefs: Children’s Pool lifeguard tower demolition to begin, injured sea lions found at La Jolla Cove … and more
  3. Questions arise about details of seal harassment video at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. Coastal Commission approves permit for year-round seal rope
  5. City still not enforcing rules on vendors at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=116060

Posted by Pat Sherman on Oct 29, 2013. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Comments for “City Council postpones vote on La Jolla Children’s Pool closure”

  1. Califia

    So now the applicant (City of San Diego) for the beach closure project, having been pushed by animal rights wackos, has been called on the propaganda continually used to try to take this beach from the people of San Diego. The CCC has rejected the claim of “environmentally sensitive habit” for the beach or the seals that willingly share the beach with people. When does this stupidity stop. How much more taxpayer money will the City redirect from vital infrastructure repairs to keep trying to close Children’s Pool. A cost analysis should be done to see how much money has be wasted on this foolishness over the past 15 years. Invite the seals back into the wild and let the kids have their pool back. Then lets clean up the Cove. It’s a stinky mess. Welcome to La Jolla.

  2. Merc Silva

    I am not in favor of closing the children’s pool. Let nature take its course. If we close the beach then we will have an over growth of seals. Come on people! We also need to protect the fish and other wild life not just one group. THE SEALS are not an endangered species so why do we need to protect them! Too much of one thing is never good. Please don’t let a few decide for the rest of us. Plus we are spending so much money on this if they feel so strong let them flip the cost of this! Think of this nature will take care of balance unless we interfere let’s not upset balance do not be irrational.

  3. Cheri Jacobs Aspen

    Number one. The Seal Abuse Video was staged. It is time the Light and the other news agencies actually watch it. The seals do not move. No contact is made. The Seal Opportunists actors wearing identical uniforms never really kick or sit upon the seals. If they would have the seals would of bolted into (flushed-) in a New York second. They do not flush into the water. No effort at all was made to find the culprits. We still do not know who filmed it. And even with the naked eye you can see its staged FAKE. I can’t believe the news agencies with their film experts did not analyze the video and report the truth. NO one harrasesses the seals that have no business in a human bathing pool. The feces should never be allowed as per Superior Court Judge Pate who ruled thus and ordered the pool to be restored. Until Pease slimed balled to SAC and changed a dead woman’s Trust to add a use the obliterates the original uses. Like right that was really Just. No way . Any AntiTrust Attorney worth his salt can prove it. And for the City to even put up with it and honor such fecal pollution and boot out the disabled is totally wrong. The City of San Diego is in serious violation of ADA Law at the Children’s Pool. For years. The Ramp there was to be updated decades ago. The pool was engineered and built for Those Handicapped In Life’s Game and could be and darn well should be a fantastic ADA Ocean Pool for the Disabled. Challenged AThletes would not have to be carried up the stairs at the Cove. Wounded Warriors may find some peace and joy and good sunshine vitamin D therapy there without legs or arms. The Pool provide protection from the surf. It is a POOL. A POOL as opposed to the surf that is at every other beach. It is too hard to swim out throught the surf without legs. Well no kidding. So why would our leaders or anyone with a brain lock out the disabled from their only ocean pool ? Who needs the protection of the calm therapy pool behind the breakwater ? A harbor seal, or a paraplegic United States Navy Seal? San Diego and all its leaders should be ashamed to block the disabled from their only ocean pool.
    Time to wise up San Diego and not fall for Seal Profit Politics. No one is a seal hater that is a 6th grade tactic and must stop. The seals have devistated the underwater ecology and I can find no EIR done prior to Seal World releasing seals into an area . No fish stock or species counts prior and on going with relation to the Environmental Impact of releasing so many new animals to an area not used to them. And no ongoing reports about the impact with ever increasing birth rates and population explosion. We had better learn from the East Coast who’s fish populations will never recover from the 1000′s of seals . And the fecal contamination has leached so much it has killed off other species of ocean creatures. I believe that the immense fecal build up on the sand leaches into the shallows at the C.P. and has also killed off species. If you love seals you had better love their home, the ocean and its all about balance. And the balance is gone right now. Of course baiting beaches for Sharks is not too wise either.
    “But expert Cordero pointed out it might not be wise to swim in areas densely populated by sea lions.
    “They’re one of the prime foods for large sharks like whites, which could mistake humans for pinnipeds,” he said adding, “It’s a good idea, even if there are no shark sightings, to be aware.”
    There’s one more thing about sea lions that’s not likely to change.
    “Sea lion populations are with us to stay,” noted Cordero. “They’re just going to keep getting bigger and bigger.” No proper Marine Mammal Population Control going on. Whole careers made from the backs of these marine mammals but not proper management for their own good. Does S.D.really like to watch them starve ? How about a human getting bitten. At the Cove come watch the 800 lb sea lions come roaring out of the water , fangs dripping to chase the entire beach clear of humans. Nightly. If that happened at the C.P. that Beach would be closed for a long time. Not so politically correct at the Cove though. Double standard will get a human bitten soon. Better wise up. No staging necessary.

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