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Divers demand equal access to Children’s Pool

By Volker Hoehne

President, San Diego Freedivers

and

By John Leek

Secretary, San Diego Council of Divers

The San Diego Freediver and the San Diego Council of Divers has been involved in the struggle to retain divers and citizen access to the ocean at Children’s Pool. The amendment to the Children’s Pool trust has re-asserted city trusteeship of the Children’s Pool with no reason for the city to change its joint use policy.

The city is the trustee of a marine mammal and Public Park with citizen access guaranteed, and is obligated to manage that property upholding all the terms of the trust.

The San Diego Freedivers and the Council of Divers expects the city to ratify its trusteeship of this park, adhering to its own established policies of Joint Use and relevant state and federal regulations.

  • The city should produce a management plan for Children’s Pool and all La Jolla beaches spelling out how pinnipeds will be dealt with, including written policy to what extent other beaches will be protected from new colonization, or closed to make new habitat.
  • To restore public peace and respect for the rights of its citizens we request the city once again place security guards on the sidewalks at Children’s Pool to monitor city policy and law enforcement. If the city decides to close that beach for any period by law, then it must enforce corresponding measures to ensure when it is open, that public access is protected by law.
  • NOAA must be involved in managing seals at Children’s Pool. The city has no legal authority to manage seals because of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, sections 109(a) and 104(c), and NOAA has given the city only changing guidelines, varying policies and “recommendations.” The city should petition NOAA for personnel and resource commitments or to issue the needed federal permit to assume the right of management of our seals.
  • We expect the city to determine its options under state and federal law and review any plans with the salient regulatory agencies before acting on anything, so not to run afoul of the law again.
  • The city should be the only entity to post signs or enforce policies pertaining to walk ways, stairs and access on or across the beach. Docents should only be uniformed city employees.