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Stop Work order issued at Children’s Pool lifeguard tower in La Jolla — Officials say construction activities disturb pregnant and nursing seals

Work must temporarily cease on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower, which is nearly complete.
Work must temporarily cease on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower, which is nearly complete.
(Ashley Mackin)

A Stop Work Notice has been posted on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower, citing construction activities that have disturbed the pregnant and nursing Harbor Seals hauling out nearby during pupping season (observed Dec.15 to May 15). A meeting has been scheduled for mid-May between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and city staff to discuss mediation.

Mónica Muñoz, a Senior Public Information Officer for the City of San Diego Communications Department explained via e-mail, “There are a few items yet to be completed on the station. Once we get direction from NOAA, we will know when we can proceed with finishing up the project.”

The Stop Work Notice is posted on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower door.
The Stop Work Notice is posted on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower door.
(Ashley Mackin)
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The Stop Work Notice, dated April 13, states, “There have been multiple reports that construction activities performed onsite after the beginning of the (Harbor Seal pupping season) moratorium have incidentally harassed the Harbor Seals. … The City may pursue termination of the contract for default for disregarding ‘laws or regulations of any public body having jurisdiction’ and ‘continuous or repeated violations of regulatory or statutory safety requirements.’ ”

Further, “no work shall commence until the (resident engineer) has confirmed with NOAA and the project’s biologist that any proposed activity may be performed.”

In August 2013, demolition work began on the former Children’s Pool lifeguard tower to pave the way for the new $3 million tower. At that time, it was announced construction of the new facility would take eight months, with a pause for the Harbor Seal pupping season. Since then, everything from issues with materials, design flaws and a nesting seagull chick have caused repeated delays.

Harbor seals line the beach at Children’s Pool. Photo: File
Harbor seals line the beach at Children’s Pool. Photo: File

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