There are many projects, and potential projects, before the City of Coronado. From questions on Grand Caribe & Shoreline Park in the Cays, AICUZ and Ocean Boulevard concerns, to a water treatment plant on Glorietta Bay, and the list goes on. There isn’t a corner of Coronado that doesn’t face potential change. What do you feel are the three most significant items facing Coronado and each of its unique localities, the Cays, Shores, and Village?
I feel the most significant threat to Coronado is the Sewage Plant on the Golf Course. It is not a threat because of what it is, but because of what it will allow, future over- development. Perhaps an even greater threat to residents of Coronado is not the sewage plant itself but the methodology being used to get it done.Make no mistake, this is a project that Council and Staff has decided Coronado is going to have. The project is currently named the “Golf Course Modernization Project” A name carefully chosen to suggest “modernization” but will a sewage plant really modernize the golf course? This project is supposed to be an attempt to irrigate our golf course and parks in a more cost-efficient manner. If true, and truly about irrigation, wouldn’t the City have explored every possible source of water? The City never explored Coronado’s groundwater basin even though it is a known fact that Coronado has overwhelming amounts of brackish groundwater. The very same brackish groundwater that CalAm has told the City of Imperial Beach will be an economically viable source of water in less than 17 years. As I am typing my response to this question the City has posted agenda item 10b for next Tuesday’s Council Meeting. Now after the City has already issued the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, The City has chosen to explain its rationale for not exploring Coronado’s groundwater. Or has it? They have set the “explanation” up as a report, presented to Council by the same people who have until now, ignored the alternative sources of water. This presentation is set-up with no discussion, no debate, and only clarifying questions. I would ask why? Are they afraid they will not be able to answer the questions from residents? Coronado currently has the ability to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency. This costs the City little to nothing, and is a way for Coronado to manage and protect its very own natural resource for many generations to come. Forming A GSA secures Coronado’s local control. The explanation in agenda item 10b for not exploring Coronado’s groundwater is that in the event we ever used brackish groundwater for desalination the City would have to sell the water to CalAm at wholesale rates and then buy the water back at retail. Preposterous? Well that scenario just so happens to be the exact same scenario that the sewage plant requires and is the rationale that the City has used to explain to us how a sewage plant is going to make financial sense. How does selling recycled sewage to CalAm and buying it back at retail make a strong financial case for a sewage plant, but selling recycled groundwater to CalAm at wholesale and buying it back at retail be a bad idea? The City’s explanation makes no sense. The cost of the sewage facility far exceeds the estimated 25million Engineers I have spoken with say 40-50 million all in (this includes the purple pipe). Recycled water from sewage requires an entirely separate infrastructure from our existing fresh water pipelines. The network of purple pipe required to transport the water all throughout Coronado is highly expensive and California Public Utilities Code 13580.8 allows the water utility provider building the network to pass the entire cost back to its customers. It’s very unfortunate that our sewage plant study and all the Council discussions have yet to address these additional costs. I don’t know if I am for or against the “Sewage Plant.” There are still so many unanswered questions, neither I, or the city, is in a position to commit to a positive or negative position on this project.
Second, any new hotel development in Coronado is a threat to all of Coronado. Having said that, to contemplate a hotel in the Cays, especially where they have to drive through the Cays to get to the Hotel, is especially egregious. Such a hotel was/is planned (only by the developer at this point) at Grand Caribe & Shoreline Park in the Cays. That would be unacceptable to me. It would not only significantly change the quality of life in the Cays, it would endanger the kids and adults that walk, run, and bike those streets. I would like to see the Port District and/or the City make “Shoreline Park” a safer/cleaner park. It might be as easy as having curfews in the park and adding more trash receptacles, but I think we will need to be a bit more creative than that.
Third, and I do not mean to ignore the “Shores.” I realize that we need to keep bicycles, skateboards and skaters off the “Beach Promenade”, but I think the “new Sidewalk” on Ocean Blvd is a much bigger threat. I have been told by the Council that moving or messing with the “rocks” is OK with the California Coastal Commission (CCC). That surprises me, and I would want to see something in writing before we begin. I have also spoken with an Environmental Attorney who suggested that messing with the rocks would create a change in the Mean High Tide line (average high tide). He suggested that because of Sea Level Rise the Mean High Tide line would move up the beach towards Ocean Boulevard. If in fact that happened, many changes could occur (for one thing Coronado would not control the beach below the Mean High Tide Line). Obviously, we don’t want to do anything that might cause us to lose control of a part of our beach.