Ocean Beach Pier Taskforce to Inform Public Only Option Is to ‘Rebuild’, 2 Years After OB Rag Said the Same

by on March 17, 2023 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Beginning in early April, the Ocean Beach Pier Taskforce and city will hold a series of workshops to find out from the public what they want to see and what having a pier in Ocean Beach means to them. The Taskforce will show the public what options they have to either repair, replace, or rebuild a new pier.

But by all accounts, from community leaders, Campbell’s office and city officials, the only real option is to rebuild a brand, new pier.

The OB Rag rarely toots our horn, but it was two years ago in April 2021 that the Rag determined that the iconic structure had to be replaced, not just patched up.  In his seminal April 13, 2021 post, Rag writer Geoff Page claimed, “Unless there’s a miracle, the Ocean Beach Pier is history.” No miracle is expected.

As early as February 2021 Page raised questions about the viability of the pier and its future.

This was after the city had consistently downplayed and even mislead the public about the crumbling status of the pier. The Rag also went after local mainstream media for getting the story about the pier all wrong.

At a June 2022 meeting of the OB Planning Board, Page – reporting for the Rag – stated:

It seems the city and the community have come to an informal consensus that the pier needs to be replaced, not rehabbed.

Replacement would mean demolition of the existing pier at some point. If the new structure would go in the same place, the existing pier would have to go first. If the new one is set in a different location, demolition could take place once the new pier was open. It might also be possible to build from the ocean toward the shore and keep some of the pier open while the seaward sections were built.

Before a new pier can be built, everyone needs to decide what needs to go into the design. To that end, [city official James] Nagelvoort said the scope of the new pier will need to address things like climate change and sea level rise. The scope will need to include things the community wants such as an educational component.

In August 2022, the City of San Diego announced it will replace the Ocean Beach Pier.

On October 11, 2022, the San Diego City Council approved an $8 million contract to start working with a consulting firm to replace the Ocean Beach Pier. Moffat & Nichol began the process of planning for a brand new pier with the city’s engineering team. The firm was approved back on September 14 by the council’s transportation and infrastructure committee for additional services needed for the OB Pier improvement project.

The consultation company expected to begin an evaluation of the pier and to have construction begin on the new pier by 2026. The cost ranges from $40-$60 million with a life expectancy of 50 to 75 years. The $8 million was a grant by the State of California.

In January of this year, Mark Winkie, a member of the Taskforce advised local media that it’s full speed ahead on initial planning to replace the pier with a state of the art pier that would last a century. A best-case scenario would be to have construction on a new structurally modern pier likely costing upwards of $100 million beginning before the end of 2026, with completion by mid-2028. It will be a new pier for a new age, said Winkie.

“The mayor has formed a task force of about a dozen City engineers, consultants, and other stakeholders to design usable public space areas on a new pier,” he said. “We will be scheduling a series of public workshops to find out what people want to see in a new, re-imagined pier.

“You don’t want a pier with a bunch of rusted rebar and concrete sticking out of the water in OB, which is what will happen if nothing is done. The City has the responsibility of taking this pier and, following the will of the people, building a beautiful, brand-new structure that everyone can be proud of.”

And now just recently, Councilmember Jennifer Campbell announced she supports rebuilding the storm-damaged Ocean Beach Pier, saying continued repairs are too costly. “The OB Pier is a San Diego treasure, but recent storms along with wear and tear have damaged the pier extensively,” said Campbell, whose district includes the pier. “San Diegans deserve a new, and state-of-the art pier so they can enjoy it for generations.”

The pier has been closed since it was damaged during storms in early January.

For any questions about the OB Pier Taskforce or the Pier Replacement Project, please contact Mayor Todd Gloria’s Communications Department: at 619-533-4555 or communications@sandiego.gov


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