A vote by the City Council on Monday night to make spending adjustments based on an increase in municipal revenues will allow the Parks and Recreation Department to seek permits to close the in La Jolla during pupping season for harbor seals.
The department was authorized to spend $30,000 for staff to apply for the permits from the California Coastal Commission, which would bar people from using the beach from Dec. 15 to May 15. If approved by the commission, the ban would go into effect in the next pupping season.
The decades-long seals issue has pitted animal rights groups against advocates for beach access. The Children's Pool was gifted to the city of San Diego in 1931 for use as a safe swimming area for children.
Currently, city policy is to place a rope barrier before the beach during pupping season to discourage people from going down to the sand and disturbing the marine mammals. However, people can still head down to the sand if they want.
The rope is taken down in mid-May.
The City Council has previously voted for the Children's Pool to be closed during pupping season, and for the rope to stay up the rest of the year to make people think twice before using the beach. The plan was passed as an emergency, allowing the city to take the action prior to Coastal Commission approval. However, Mayor Jerry Sanders declared there was no emergency. He said the permits should go before the commission in due course.
Permits to keep up the rope all year are already before the commission and are awaiting action.
–City News Service