Despite community objections, the city will continue next week with its process of doling out time slots for summer weekend kayak launch times.
What city officials are calling the “concession draft” - designed to control how many kayak operators are on the water at one time - will be held at 1 p.m. March 5 at Park and Recreation headquarters, 2125 Park Blvd., Room 207.
During that meeting, lifeguards will oversee allocation of a total of 54 1 1/2- and 2 1/2-hour slots among six kayak operators who were selected from among those who had to detail information about their operations, staffing and safety procedures.
The slots will enable them to put boats in the water at the city’s lone oceanfront launch ramp on weekends from mid-June to Labor Day.
Fairness in questionThe La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) community advisory group and kayak operators have questioned the fairness of the city’s process in two letters and meetings with city officials.
Association leaders also say they are concerned about being left out of the process.
“We were completely disappointed in the response of the city and their total exclusion of the community in this effort,” said chairman Jim Heaton.
Last July, the city started the process to address lifeguards’ complaints that kayak proliferation in the Shores was posing a safety hazard, with an increasing number of accidents causing more responses by lifeguards.
In early February, the city temporarily suspended the process so they could address the association’s concerns.
Following throughBill Harris, the mayor’s press spokesman, said, “There has been no change in our process other than to take a pause to listen to what the community has to say,” he said. “It’s our intent to follow through with the (request for proposal) process while listening to the concerns of the community and vendors.
News of the revival was greeted with alarm by at least one Shores operator, Sharon Luscomb, who, along with husband Mike, has operated La Jolla Kayak at 2199 Avenida de la Playa for16 years.
“They just came up with a pie and divided it by six permit holders which is very damaging to businesses like mine that are 50 percent or more rentals. It takes many years to get a returning customer base,” she said. “And now we’re going to have to say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you today but I’ll send you to this other person who has room.’ It’s just a redistribution of business.”
Doug Marshall, owner of La Jolla Surf Systems, didn’t make the RFP cut and now finds himself on the outside looking in.
“They said I didn’t get a permit because my RFP application wasn’t complete,” he said, adding he feels it’s large groups the city ought to be focusing on. “The problem that’s arisen isn’t two or three people,” he said, “but 30 or 40 getting off a bus that go out all at once.”
How it breaks down:
La Jolla Kayak:Fifteen total tour slots per weekend day, 12, 1.5 hour and 3, 2.5 hour
San Diego Bike and Kayak:Fifteen total tour slots per weekend day, 12, 1.5 hour and 3, 2.5 hour
OEX:Ten total tour slots per weekend day, 9, 1.5 hour and 1, 2.5 hour
Hike Bike and Kayak:Nine total tour slots per weekend day, 7, 1.5 hour and 2, 2.5 hour
La Jolla Sea Kayaks:Four total slots per weekend day, 4, 1.5 hour
Aqua Adventures:One total slot per weekend day, 1, 1.5 hour