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Goleta Beach Park Decision Expected in November

After years of study, the fate of popular but imperiled Goleta Beach Park is about to be decided.

Goleta Beach Park is a community treasure at a critical crossroads. Seasonal storm surges, wave activity and natural sand erosion pose an imminent threat to the wonderful recreational facilities along the beach and the critical utility lines buried beneath the park. After years of study and community input, the fate of Goleta Beach Park  is now up to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which will vote on the future of the park at its Nov. 20 meeting in Santa Barbara.

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Kristen Amyx
Community groups, private citizens and other organizations, including the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, have been studying the park’s history, geography and environmental context for many years in an effort to determine the best course of action to protect the park and minimize any adverse impact on the coastal ecosystem. According to county Parks Director Dan Hernandez, the Parks Department  has developed two proposals for the long-term future of the park: stabilizing the beach by installing an innovative permeable groin or “managed retreat.”

The permeable groin, constructed alongside the existing pier, would serve as a natural barrier, slowing the movement of sand down the coastline and allowing the gradual buildup of protective sand at the park. “Managed retreat” would involve removing the current protective infrastructure, to allow natural erosion to occur over time, essentially allowing the ocean to reclaim the sandbar on which Goleta Beach Park sits.

Far more than top-notch recreational facilities are at risk should erosion be allowed to continue along the beach. The park serves as a critical shield protecting the Santa Barbara Airport, Goleta Sanitary District facilities and vital underground gas and electric conduits and pipelines. There is also evidence that Goleta’s fresh groundwater supply would be threatened with sea water intrusion. Historical maps and old photos also suggest that, should Goleta Beach Park disappear, Old Town Goleta could, once again, be at great risk of catastrophic flooding.

The Board of Supervisors must approve and submit a final proposal for the park to the California Coastal Commission by January, when the temporary permits for the current protective rock revetments expire. Beach stabilization is the logical and responsible choice. Now is the time for our county Supervisors to stand united in support of a long-term plan to protect Goleta Beach Park so that it will, in turn, continue to protect important infrastructure and serve as a valuable community recreational resource enjoyed daily by young and old, families and students, sunbathers and surfers.

For more information on the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, visit www.goletavalleychamber.com  or call 805.967.2500.

 

 

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