OB Pier Watchers Are Not Surprised the Pier Is Still Closed

by on November 8, 2023 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

View from OB beach cam, Wed., Nov. 8, 2023 11am

On Friday, Oct. 20, lifeguards closed the Ocean Beach Pier because of expected high surf. The National Weather Service reported a swell of 4 to 5 feet with a period of 17 to 20 seconds from the west-northwest could generate large surf and strong rip currents through that Friday.

Lifeguards were to monitor ocean conditions and reopen the pier the following Saturday. So they thought.

The famous but poor and damaged OB Pier has been closed ever since.

The pier was also closed earlier this year from January 6 to July 1 because of damage and underwent repairs in order to reopen. Which it did, but not for very long – from July 1 to Oct. 20.

After the OB Rag broke open the story about how the pier was so rotten and should close, it was uncovered that a consultant for the city of San Diego had declared the 57-year-old pier at “the end of its service life.”  After a flurry of activity, community meetings, brain storming sessions and dog and pony shows, in September the city unveiled three preliminary design concepts for a new pier.

Pretty much everybody by then was on board with the idea that the old pier was indeed “history,” and that a new pier had to be constructed.

Longtime “pier watchers” are not at all surprised that the pier is still closed. Those who have been reading the Rag about the pier for the last couple of years understand how bad it really is, how crippled the old structure really is — and ultimately how necessary it will be to someday demolish it and build a new on.

Yet some are surprised – and such a reaction was expressed by Kohta Zaiser, a representative of Mayor Gloria at the Oct. 26 OB Town Council meeting, as reported in the PL-OB Monthly. Zaiser told the meeting the pier shutdown was dismaying and that, “The closure is a lot earlier than anticipated.We haven’t even entered into the true storm season yet.” Zaiser also told people that he city spent $200,000 on repairs from last winter’s damage.

And this is not surprising, either – Zaiser’s response – because he is simply tooting the “party line” of the mayor’s office. Todd Gloria has been for a while now downplaying the extent of the damage to the pier and how much it will take to bring it back. This has been a discernible pattern coming out of the top executive’s office of the metropolis. It seemed like he rushed the city to get the pier open by July 4 — the height of the beach season. Yet, now, at this last date, Gloria’s rep is out there in the community telling everyone ‘we’ve got to have a tough conversation.’ Duh! Where have you been?

Zaiser asked the OBTC, “Are we going to have to close it for good and wait for the whole replacement? … Depending on what the assessment is, this could be the time for that real tough conversation.”

OBceans have been having this conversation for months, for years – and what’s dismaying is a mayor who seems to be lagging behind the curve of understanding and conversation — at least publicly — and not being as transparent and upfront with his constituents as the issue demands.

As Corey Bruins said at the meeting, there’s been a task force helping to design a new pier and there’s been three community workshops this year and an online survey generated nearly 5,000 responses about design options. Officially, the next step is to incorporate that input into a single design, which is expected to be presented at another community meeting in the second quarter of next year. The city has said it would like to begin construction on a new pier by 2026. This is what the city said in 2022.

OB Rag writer, Geoff Page, was the first to declare in April of 2021 that the pier was so damaged, it couldn’t be repaired and had to be replaced.

Here are the 3 design options (in language per the U-T):

• The Braid, which offers a pier structure distinct from any other in Southern California, diverging into different levels of interconnected pathways. This option has two curvy arms that would extend the pier farther into the ocean. It would offer upgraded bathrooms, potential retail, dining and community spaces, and lower-level fishing areas.

• The Remora, which includes angled extensions along the sides of the pier, a surfers lounge area and fishing amenities. There also would be an expanded deck for outdoor dining at the Walking on Water Cafe and an expanded plaza with a small retail pavilion.

• The Squint Test, which closely resembles the current structure of the pier but is about 8 to 10 feet wider. It features a straight walkway to the end of the pier and an “infinity plaza” offering an unobstructed view of the open ocean. The plan also includes a fishing deck around the pier’s cafe. A new building with upgraded restrooms could provide more retail or community space.

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