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Letters to the Editor

Stop making dredging so difficult

It’s unfortunate that the city council recently threw a monkey wrench into our harbor dredging plan. Whether intentional or not, they voted 6-1 (Duffield voting no) to slow down and potentially kill our harbor dredging project.

I grew up on the harbor and have a business on the bay. I’ve seen the results of benign neglect of the harbor. The main channel hasn’t been dredged since 1936. Charter boats can’t use it at low tide. Large boats have to wait offshore for high tide. Residential docks can’t be dredged due to the cost of trucking the material to distant landfills.

The City’s dredging plan solves both problems. It buries and caps the dredge material in a deep sub-marine pit between Lido and Bay Islands. It’s a safe solution used in Long Beach, Port Hueneme, Humboldt Bay, Boston Harbor, Baltimore Harbor, New Bedford and Chesapeake Bay.

The federal, state and local agencies are on board. We’ve received nearly $16 million from Washington DC to pay for it.

An alternative plan has been proposed by some Lido Island residents that dumps the dredge material at Lower Castaways parking lot at PCH and Dover. The parking lot can’t accommodate all the material, so they propose dumping the remainder on the face of the Castaways cliff and the uplands park near the Veterans Memorial flag and statue. They propose to encapsulate the dredge material with a concrete cap.

The city council’s recent action calls for a “Third Party Review” of both plans that evaluates the city approved plan of burying the dredge material under 20 feet of water in a deep hole capped by four feet of dirt versus dumping it all at Lower Castaways and Castaways Park.

This “Third Party Review” is a waste of time and jeopardizes our federal funding by delaying the project.

Here’s an excellent explanation of the approved project by Councilman Duffield: www.newportbeachca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/69354/637478683222230000.

Gary Hill

Newport Beach