Thursday, July 21, 2016

Build a real seawall to protect West Sharp Park neighborhood and community

At the same time,  reject the promotion of destructive NIMBY "managed retreat".

Dear neighbors,

Image result for West Sharp Park, Pacifica, CA  picture
This is the DRAFT - Asset Vulnerability Profile which is being promoted and circulated by John Keener and Bob Batallio to as many County, State and Federal coastal agencies as possible. Read it VERY CAREFULLY, especially the section on the last page titled “Asset-Specific Adaptation”.

In this section they conclude that shoreline retreat, locally referred to as “managed retreat”, may be a more viable option than repairs or replacement of the Beach Blvd. wall. They propose relocating the entire West Sharp Park neighborhood of 7,200 inhabitants, numerous small businesses, affordable housing and extensive infrastructure to some other place on higher ground. This would necessitate the razing of the entire community.

Image result for West Sharp Park, Pacifica, CA  pictureThey also claim that this will yield an added “gray” ecological benefit. I believe this is a reference to a benefit of more habitat and wetland for endangered species and natural beach erosion and nourishment. This is a repetition of the same argument which continues to be used to shut down the West Sharp Park Golf Course.

Highlighted in the section titled Additional Important Information is a reference to “community resistance to raising the height of the seawall”. To my knowledge this is actually an accounting of one residents’ response when Bob Battallio told him that the wall would have to be raised 30 feet to effectively protect the area. Any reasonable person would react the same way if they were presented with unsubstantiated and provocative information like this.
Image result for Pacifica, CA picture 
Most importantly, in the very last section titled Vulnerable Seawalls, they off-handedly call the sea wall a “floodwall for all intents and purposes”. This confirms our contention that this is NOT, nor was it EVER, a seawall designed to withstand the punishment of waves. This is the real reason the City of Pacifica has been forced to pour millions of precious tax dollars into constant emergency repairs over the last 30 years. This is why it first failed when it was a brand new wall only 2 months after it’s completion. It is also why this drain on our budget and risk to public safety and the environment will never cease. In fact the situation will only worsen as the “floodwall” ages.  

West Sharp Park is an established, well connected and safe neighborhood. It has been steadily invested in for at least 75 years. Within this neighborhood there are several complex development projects currently in motion, which are important to the economic viability of Pacifica at large. It is home to a large amount of recreational opportunities, affordable housing, historical structures, small businesses and incomparable public access to the coastline along the promenade and pier. In particular, the promenade uniquely accommodates the elderly, young families and mobility impaired people. To suggest that rather than building a real seawall in conjunction with other Sea Level Rise mitigation strategies, we should just abandon this area and run for the hills before we actually understand the degree and timing of Sea Level Rise events, is an offense to our intelligence and innovative capacity.

We need to continue to study the phenomena of climate and sea level change so we can make educated and smart decisions about our future. In the meantime we need to complete the repairs of the Beach Blvd “floodwall”. We need to immediately beef-up the rock-revetment all along the front of the wall in order to deflect the power of the waves and hopefully prevent further damage in the short term. We need to convince our leaders to get on the same page and prioritize the building of a real seawall along the promenade. This is critical for safety, continued public access and to stop the financial hemorrhaging of our already stressed city budget.

We look to our leaders to be open, honest and factually correct with the citizens of Pacifica. It would be highly unethical to thwart critical thinking and use the spectre of potential Sea Level Rise to scare people into compliance with the ever present NO-GROWTH agenda.

Mike Bell 

Related.  Sea Change San Mateo County.  Note photographs.  Flagpole from California Beaches/Sharp Park Beach.  Golf Course and beyond from Northern California Golf Association (NCGA),"Sharp Park update,"12/7/12. Ocean waves  CBS SF Bay Area, 2/8/12.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


todd bray said...

Mike, the water is coming with or without your misguided concerns about local officials. State law does't allow for any hieght to be added to seawalls so you should go after the state law that effects you. Your continued anger with any local official is misplaced and ultimately self defeating. I'm sorry your house is on Beach Blvd but it is and as we've seen this last winter the water is absolutly coming.

Irony said...

Maybe poor misguided Bray doesn't realize that if managed retreat in instituted his own quaint abode is in danger.

mike bell said...

You kinda missed the point.
Perhaps you didn't click on the embedded link and read the draft document thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

Pacifica should be renamed to Disfunction Junction!!!!