By Scott Peters
Council President, First District
The proposed Children’s Pool lifeguard station is closer than ever to becoming a reality, thanks to the input of community members and the responsiveness of those working on the project. This month, you have the unique opportunity to learn more about the proposed design, and provide valuable input on the overall look and feel of the project.
The existing station at Children’s Pool is more than 40 years old. Daily exposure to the sun, sand and sea air have contributed to the rapid deterioration of the facility. The stairs and façade of the building are crumbling, detracting from the natural beauty of the beach and creating a potential hazard for visitors and the men and women working at the station. The situation is so dire, I’m told the Fire Chief may condemn the facility if it is not replaced. With more than 160 water rescues and 67 medical aids performed last year alone, it is imperative that we have a fully functional lifeguard station at this popular beach.
Changes to the lifeguard department make the station increasingly obsolete. The lifeguard service today includes both men and women using more advanced equipment and requiring new and better training. These changes create a need for storage, locker rooms for both genders, and a secondary observation point. It is vital that we build new facilities to meet these needs and anticipate future changes in the lifeguard service, while preserving the views and the experience residents and visitors enjoy.
We faced many of these challenges in designing the proposed lifeguard stations for La Jolla Cove and the Shores. Both projects incorporated the input of beach users, community members, and the men and women of our lifeguard service to create beautiful, long-lasting structures with minimal visual impact. Both projects will be funded when the city re-enters the public credit markets.
The city of San Diego and the La Jolla community began working on a design for the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower in 2002. Since that time, over 20 versions of the floor plan have been prepared and shared with community members. It is important that a new facility at Children’s Pool reflect the history and significance of its location. Project architects and engineers have responded to community concerns to minimize visual impacts of the proposed tower.
The latest design includes many of the elements originally proposed, such as the 270-degree view observation tower, the first aid room, and locker facilities, but excludes other elements such as the proposed garage and sleeping quarters.
I appreciate the flexibility of the lifeguard service in agreeing to exclude all non-essential uses from the site so we can limit the size of the structure. Further, by removing the existing overhang at the station, the new designs attempt to use the natural recess of the Children’s Pool to maximize views.
The current proposals are ready for community questions and input. In June, July, August and September, city staff and the project architect presented to both the La Jolla Community Planning Association and the La Jolla Town Council’s Parks and Beaches Committee. City staff discussed the project with Parks and Beaches again on Monday, Sept. 24, and will present the project to CPA for a vote on Thursday, October 4.
Once a design is approved, I will do all I can to ensure that this project is fully funded and prioritized, and that we break ground as soon as possible.