The groundbreaking date for the La Jolla Cove Pavilion restroom facility project has been pushed back to some time in the next few months, it was announced at the Feb. 25 La Jolla Parks & Beaches meeting. The groundbreaking and subsequent 440 days of construction was originally expected in the first part of 2019, but an “unexpected redesign” of certain features forced the delay.
“I’m excited to announce we will be starting construction very soon,” project manager Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols told those in attendance. “We opened the bid for this project in late January, and we have a contractor we’re in the process of awarding the contract to, and we anticipate issuing a Notice to Proceed in the next couple of months to get started.”
The delay came from what Schroth-Nicols called an “unexpected redesign” of drainage features (nothing is changing from the exterior design that LJP&B approved in January 2018) to accommodate the historicity of the nearby La Jolla Cove Bridge Club.
“Some of the features of the pump station were above ground and in conflict with the Bridge Club’s historic designation,” she said. “We wanted to reduce that impact, so we redesigned a few things. During the redesign, we decided to look at some of concerns and comments we’ve received from this group and others, specifically how to address the toilets and people misusing them and flushing items that should not be flushed.”
Senior project manager George Freiha said it would take a few months (1-3) to process the paperwork. Once the paperwork is completed, a construction schedule could be announced.
“It seems kind of odd … that we don’t know what month this is going to start,” quipped LJP&B trustee John Shannon. “We have a lot that goes on in that park and in the community. Not having a start date or timeline (is problematic).”
Freiha explained: “This is a complex project in a very tight area. We know the demands and the services that will be needed. There will be a dedicated public information officer hired by the contractor who will relay information to and from this group. We want to get the project done as fast as possible, but it’s going to be tough and there are going to be impacts.”
LJP&B chair Ann Dynes asked again when the groundbreaking would be, and when Freiha could not provide a date, she interjected “2019?” to which he replied, “Yes, yes, yes.”
Another point of contention were the temporary facilities to be put in place during construction.
“There are no plans for temporary showers,” Schroth-Nichols said. “That’s something we brought forward, but there were a lot of regulations that would have to be applied. The decision made moving forward is to just approve temporary handwashing stations and portable toilets.”
The pavilion plan was introduced in January 2014, and in November 2014, the San Diego Regional Park Improvement Fund committee voted to fund the entire construction process.
The current, 50-year-old facility has 10 toilets in single-sex restrooms and one unisex facility, and the new restroom pavilion is proposed to have more single-stall unisex toilets, and a men and women’s toilet room. The facility will also feature benches, outdoor showers, ADA-compliant toilets and indoor showers, and storage for beach equipment.
The facility as a whole is two buildings with a breezeway in between. One building houses the unisex stalls and the other houses indoor showers and single-sex restrooms and changing rooms, surrounded by exterior features.
Schroth-Nicols concluded: “I feel confident in the redesign we’ve done that we’ve got the best design. I’m excited to move forward.”
In other LJP&B news
Marine Memorial on hold: After an outpouring of opposition, a proposal for a Marine Memorial Mall at the foot of Marine Street (with seating, water features, restrooms and a lifeguard station) has been suspended. At the LJP&B meeting, Dynes read a statement from project organizer, Erik Holtsmark, announcing there would not be any further developments at this time.
“My project to develop the dead end of Marine Street has run its gamut,” she read. “I am curtailing my efforts on this project in view of the excessive protests both orally and via acerbic e-mails. Although the details of the objections are mostly unfounded, it is obvious there is emotional opposition to improvements of any kind. … My vision was certainly extreme in exploring paramount possibilities for the location. Even deleting all the artistic and cultural elements, the fact remains that at some point in time convenient access, sanitation, safety and lifeguard needs must be provided.”
Nevertheless, residents against the project spoke out in two presentations.
Because Holtsmark did not technically withdraw his project, the board unanimously voted to disapprove it.
Children Pool’s working group: Ahead of a California Coastal Commission hearing in June to decide whether to extend a permit to close Children’s Pool during harbor seal pupping season and install a rope to keep humans away from harbor seals the remaining months, a motion to form a LJP&B working group to prepare for the upcoming hearing passed. The group would come up with a recommendation to present to the Coastal Commission at the hearing.
Dockless corrals: As part of a broader effort to encourage responsible biking and scooter riding, Dynes said and LJP&B trustee Janet Stratford Collins are looking into places for “La Jolla” branded bike racks and corrals for dockless vehicles.
“If you don’t have a sanctioned place to park these things, you can hardly get mad at the riders for throwing them any old place,” Dynes said. “So the methodology is that these would create places where these could be left.”
One idea is to place the corrals on streets with diagonal parking places. At the end of any given row of diagonal parking — where there are small triangular areas of leftover space and no room for a car — there could be a designated dockless bike corral. Efforts are ongoing.
— La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, March 25 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollaparksbeaches.org