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Mediating seals issue will take work

BY CHARLEY BARRINGER

Mediation has now been suggested as a means of crafting a fair compromise agreement to end the Children’s Pool saga. Any such agreement will require the willingness of both sides to end the otherwise guaranteed course of ever more wasted time and money. Details will remain to finalize, but I believe an agreement can be reached and suggest the following points be considered.

Both sides accept the cornerstone principle that the site be sanctioned as a shared use beach. Without this, further mediation efforts would undoubtedly be quite futile.

Both sides agree to allow seals the protected use of the site during the winter and spring pupping months, and allow for protected public access to use the beach during the summer and fall months.

Both sides allow the site to undergo a thorough cleaning and restoration and be maintained through periodic efforts to keep it clean and safe for public access and use.

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This will require that the seals be dispersed prior to and during the restoration process. Obviously, this is the major point of contention. It would require the pro-seal activists to risk that once dispersed, the seals will never come back to use the site. And, it asks for their good faith in the reasonable belief that the seals will indeed come back and satisfy their desire to safeguard the site as a place where natural seal behavior can be observed in a meaningful way.

The pro-children activists will need to show their good faith in allowing for the protected use of the site by the seals for roughly half of each year. Their risk is that the seals will come back in such large numbers that even regular (albeit less invasive and costly) maintenance will not be able to sustain a safe enough environment to attract public use as intended by the original trust agreement.

Some “details” and/or other approaches to keeping the site safe and available for the uses that both sides want, such as re-opening the sluice gates or constructing new ones, will require further studies so that reasonable decisions can be made. Other issues raised by the above suggestions have already been studied and can be reasonably dispensed with.

Whatever the plan might be, we do seem to be at a crossroads and something reasonable needs to be agreed upon now!

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Charley Barringer is a La Jolla resident.