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Orange County Focus

SEAL BEACH : Sand Issue Imperils Beach Panel's Future

January 29, 1994|SHELBY GRAD

Over the last month, all four members of the Beach Commission have resigned in frustration over the city's policy on sand replenishment, raising questions about the panel's future.

The last of the commissioners, Tom Quinn, submitted his resignation at Monday night's City Council meeting. The council will decide in February whether to appoint new people to the commission or to abolish the panel.

Gordon LaBedz, a well-known environmentalist and a leader of the Surfrider Foundation, was the first commissioner to resign. "It just didn't seem like it was a fruitful use of time anymore," he said. "We've been pushing very hard that the main thing the beach needs is sand. It just seemed like no one is listening."

The erosion of sand off city beaches has long been a problem. If it continues unchecked, officials fear high surf could one day threaten beachside homes and businesses. But city officials said the millions of dollars it would cost to ship sand to the beach from gravel yards makes the idea prohibitive for now.

Instead, the city is working with the Navy to see if the city can buy sand that is dredged from nearby Anaheim Bay.

The former beach commissioners acknowledged that there are no easy answers to the sand erosion quandary.

But LaBedz criticized the city for recently allocating more than $100,000 to repair a cement groin under the pier. He contends that the money would be more wisely spent on a sand replenishment program.

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