This week, I attended our Harbor Commission meeting, and for the first time in the years that I have attended these meetings, all the faces of the commission had changed.
The commission was created in 2002. Seven members serve a four-year term, and no commissioner can serve more than two consecutive full terms.
In my opinion, one of the most active and productive harbor commissioners is Paul Blank, who has been tasked with strengthening public outreach. Working alongside Blank are commissioners David Girling and Brad Avery, who have come up with the idea of a harbor cruise for the public.
The date has not been set, although it will be before this winter and, because of the generosity of Seymour Beek, will take place on a ferry boat. This cruise will be between 9 to 11 a.m. and will touch on almost every topic concerning our harbor. As soon as the dates have been confirmed, I will update you.
During the meeting, Avery, the newly elected commission chairman,
noted how much the harbor is changing, with eight major projects starting or due to start in the very near future: Marina Park, New Port Marina, Lido Village, Castaways, Back Bay Landing, Balboa Island sea wall replacement, Irvine Co. public dock and the Bay Island sea wall.
I have been attending the Harbor Commission meeting longer than any of the commissioners, and in seven years, I have never seen so many mooring permit holders fail to pay their annual fees and risk having their permits revoked. Five permit holders could lose their mooring permits, but they would be able to appeal their revocation to the City Council.
I have an interesting bit of news regarding the proposed pilot program for the multiple vessel mooring system. A survey will soon be sent to many of our harbor homeowners and mooring permit holders. Harbor users will also be able to take this survey online. This should provide very interesting information on how the different harbor stakeholders ascertain the need for smaller mooring fields.
On the water taxi front, a recommendation was made to the city manager that a consultant be hired to determine if any companies might offer an "expression of interest" in trying the pilot program next year. If I heard Commissioner Doug West correctly, there is an interested party.
Next on this month's agenda was the topic of updating our 10 public piers. The city will replace the decking and hand rails along with the benches on the piers. Nothing will be done on the gangways or floats at this time.
The last topic covered was the start of an ad hoc committee discussing water-propelled vessels. You have seen the water jet craft flying around the harbor, and there is still one company with a permit.
This ad hoc committee of Duncan McIntosh, Bill Kenny and Joe Stapleton will hold public meetings and come up with a recommendation for the City Council before the end of the year. My concern regarding this topic is acceptable noise levels over a period of time during the daylight hours.
For more information, go to the city's website at newportbeachca.gov/index.aspx?page=2390.
That's it for this week. I am off for the race from Santa Barbara to King Harbor aboard our sailing team's new ride on the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. Wish for wind for us — it looks rather light.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.