It was a damned-if-they-do and damned-if-they-don’t moment for county supervisors this week when they supported a plan to pipe water from PG&E’s desalination plant at Diablo Canyon to Avila Beach in the South County.
If the project is ultimately approved — a status report is due in January — the water could be distributed throughout much of South County via the Lopez Lake water distribution system.
The Board of Supervisors has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to avert a water crisis, particularly in the Paso Robles groundwater basin. But when it gave its preliminary blessing to the Diablo-to-Avila pipeline, critics called it a government boondoggle.
“What staff has given us today is kind of planning after a few beers,” said Brad Snook, who represented the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
Here’s an idea: Let’s spend three or four years studying the proposal first. By then, the drought will either be over — Thanks, El Niño! — or the water shortage will be so bad there won’t be much of any agriculture or tourism or parkland or anything else left in South County, so who cares?
Sorry, but there’s no time for hand-wringing. We give county staff and the Board of Supervisors a lot of credit — and a fast-track bouquet — for prioritizing a project that could bring relief to at least one section of the county hard-hit by the drought.
Contractor excuse is dumb as rocks
In December, HomeFed was selected to develop the port’s project, which includes campsites, RV spaces and cabins to be built near the entrance to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant.
HomeFed’s departure leaves the harbor district in something of a pickle because it’s under a deadline to begin construction. The district is, however, in contact with another company that had submitted a bid, Newport Beach-based Red Tail Acquisitions. According to Harbor Manager Steve McGrath, Red Tail is still interested and excited about the project. Good for Red Tail.
As for HomeFed, McGrath said the company had concerns about the site’s challenging geology and the need for hillside stabilization.
Well, OK, but the geology wasn’t exactly a secret. A site visit or two or three should have revealed the challenges, and on top of that, the district supplied geologic reports to companies interested in bidding on the project. Given the circumstances, it’s disappointing the company would back out at this stage.
At least the fickle HomeFed doesn’t get to sail away without any sort of penalty. It loses $25,000 of the $50,000 deposit it submitted when it entered into an exclusive right to negotiate with the port. We’ll toss in waterlogged brickbat for leaving Harbor Terrace adrift.
Let’s hear it for The Girls
We’re serving up a bouquet of edible greens to The Girls Restaurant in Arroyo Grande, which is closing after a remarkable 42 years in business on Grand Avenue. The Girls has long had a reputation with locals — many regulars start their day there over coffee and eggs — but with the advent of the Internet, word spread to visitors to the Central Coast. Today, the friendly service gets as many positive comments as the generous country breakfasts. Thanks, Girls! Grand Avenue won’t be the same without you.