Resident Patrick Maguire just forwarded the following letter, which he emailed to City Council concerning this summer’s surfing schedule. Patrick believes his idea is a fair and equitable beach access plan. Tell us what you think.
Dear Council Members,
I was glad to see that you addressed the issue of the surfing schedule at the May 7th City Council Meeting. I believe most residents were very happy that you listened to their response to the schedule and that you have actively engaged the city management to revise the surfing schedule. I would like to submit a proposed schedule that I feel would be a fair and equitable allocation of beach access. Since the city does not have any accurate data on beach usage, I would also suggest that the city this summer gather data on beach usage so as next year the management can make better informed decisions regarding beach usage.
This plan has 3 key elements that provide not only a balanced schedule but also share the burden of both the surfing beaches as well as the surf camps across everyone’s “home” beach. Not one person who spoke at the meeting on May 7th said that surfers do not deserve access, in fact all were supportive of surf beaches but they wanted them set aside fairly and reasonably. I believe the attached schedule provides for that.
Here are 3 key elements:
1) Rotation of surfing beaches – This schedule provides a balanced rotation of the surfing beaches so that no one beach or neighborhood is unduly burdened with disproportionate number of surfing days. Since the surfers currently need to travel to the surf beaches, a true “rotation” of the beaches would actually benefit them: under this plan for almost one quarter of the summer their “home” beach will be open to surfing. The vast majority of beach goers agree and support having surfing beaches and their opposition was to an unfair distribution of the beaches. This plan submitted limits the time each “home” beach is set aside for full day surfing only 20-22% of the summer or once every 6 weeks. I would hope most residents, surfers and non-surfers alike would agree that this is fair and reasonable.
2) Surf camp move with the rotation: – Since the surf camps have no fixed base of operation, it should not be an inconvenience for the surf camps to also rotate and use one of the already allocated surf beaches. Since the companies need to load their equipment each day, whether they load onto National or Magnolia or Illinois should not be a hardship on them. Most of the surf camps run their program from Monday to Friday so each individual session would spend the entire time on one specific beach. This rotation will also benefit those residents who avail themselves of the surf camps as they would be able to choose a session on a beach that is closer to their “home” beach, and lessen the impact of getting their children to a “fixed” location, while at the same time not subjecting one particular “home” beach to surf camp all summer long. Yes this is a new and different approach and may be inconvenient, but I feel it is fairer for a private company to made changes rather than the taxpaying beach goers being subjected to an inconvenience
3) Use this summer to capture definable metrics – Since there are no actual metrics on the number of surfers vs. non surfers, the city should, this summer, implement a program to objectively capture the usage patterns of the beach goers. One possible method would be to have a lifeguard take a photo of each beach/water at the top of every hour throughout the summer. At the conclusion of this pilot program the city could analyze the data and provide a report on beach usage and use this information gathered to develop a more data driven plan for next year, a plan based on data and not on suppositions.
Shown below is a proposal for a balanced, fair and reasonable surf beach schedule. Each surf beach location would run fromSaturday AM to Friday PM. The “X” below represents a “Full Day Surf Beach” and an “M” represents a “Morning Surf Beach” where surfing would be permitted each morning from 9:00AM to 12 Noon. As shown, each “home” beach would be only closed for a full day of surfing once every 6 weeks and would either be impacted with [3 weeks of full day + 1 week of Half day] or [2 weeks of full day + 3 weeks of half day]. The morning surf camps could set up camp on any of the “full day surf beaches” for that week. If this plan works out and the data gathered this summer backs up this usage the subsequent summers could see the starting location shift, so the two cycles are not repeated on the same beach each year.
As you expressed to the community last night, the city management will be addressing the surf schedule with an eye towards alleviating the concerns raised at the meeting. I feel that this proposed schedule does in fact address many of the concerns expressed at the meeting. I look forward to any comments and to the ultimate resolution of this issue.
Patrick J. Maguire