Public, planners weigh in on seals — again

After listening to nearly 90 minutes of public testimony on how best to manage Children’s Pool, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees largely concurred with La Jolla Parks and Beaches’ recommendations.

The meeting is the next to last before the City Council holds a special meeting to consider the seals situation at 6 p.m. May 17 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sherwood Auditorium, 700 Prospect St. The Town Council will hear about it at 5 tonight.

Planning association trustees, acting in their advisory capacity, voted 13-1 against closing the beach during seal pupping season and 13-1-1 against seeking permits to keep the rope barrier up year-round that separates the marine mammals from humans. The group also voted 14-0 in favor of hiring a ranger to patrol the beach and lead a city-sanctioned docent program there.

Their only difference was on a plan to prohibit dogs on the beach at all times. Parks and Beaches committee members voted 4-2 for the idea; the planning group voted 9-5-1 against it.

CPA trustees also said they oppose souvenir sales at the beach, but overwhelmingly favored suggestions to open sluiceways in the pool’s sea wall and thoroughly cleanse the waste-fouled beach, also backing a plan offered by the San Diego Council of Divers.

Trustee Rob Whittemore’s suggestion that an expert panel study the effects of joint use at the pool on predation, ecology and safety carried 14-0-1. Another proposal by Trustee Greg Salmon that SeaWorld should no longer be allowed to release rehabilitated seals within a 25-mile radius of Children’s Pool failed by a 5-8-2 margin.