People Or Seals? San Diego City Council Revisits Children's Pool Controversy
Ordinance would declare Children's Pool beach an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area
The San Diego City Council is set to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would prohibit people from entering Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla from Dec. 15 through May 15 and declare the shoreline an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area — a move that would require amendments to the Local Coastal Plan.
It's the latest proposal in the decades-long debate over who should rule the beach: people or seals.
Seal advocates gained a victory last month when the city’s planning commission voted 4-2 to recommend the city council adopt the ordinance and protect seals during pupping season.
Opponents of the plan say converting city parkland to a wildlife preserve would have long-term consequences for children’s pool and other nearby beaches that inhabit seals.
"This past pupping season there were 42 pups born on children’s pool beach itself; there were another 18 or so born on the next adjoining beach — that’s South Casa Beach; and for the first time this year, that we know of, there were six born on the next southerly beach at Wipe Out beach," said Ken Hunrichs, president of Friends of Children’s Pool, a group dedicated to the preservation of the beach for public access.
A rope is already up year-round to discourage people from entering the beach, but it leaves a three-foot opening and people have continued to harass the marine mammals.
In March, then-Mayor Bob Filner issued an emergency order to close the beach at night to stop animal abuse that was caught on videotape.
The Children's Pool was deeded to the city in 1931 as a safe area for kids to swim.
City News Service contributed to the information in this article.