An intense scene on Thursday in the parking lot as opponents of the confronted leaders of the plan in a discussion that at times got heated.
The large gathering formed at the lagoon because it was one of the stops on the California Coastal Commission's tour of Malibu. The commissioners and other guests on the bus tour heard details about the project from Suzanne Goode, a senior environmental scientist with the California State Parks department. Also in attendance were project opponents, people just curious about the plan, and members of various news outlets.
Following the brief visit, the tour bus left for its next stop at . Meanwhile, opponents of the Malibu Lagoon project Alden Marin and "Mr. Malibu" Cary ONeal argued with Shelley Luce, executive director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, as well as Goode and Kara Kemmler of the California State Coastal Conservancy. Malibu candidate and local resident Athena Shlien later confronted Luce.
Luce defended the project as part of a plan to make the area "sustainable long after I'm gone." The opponents gave their various reasons for why they believe the project would be destructive.
The Coastal Commission approved the project in October 2010 by an 11-0 vote. Many of the current commissioners were not on that panel. Three nonprofit groups, two of which are headed by environmentalist Marcia Hanscom, filed a lawsuit to try to stop the project, but a San Francisco Superior Court judge rejected the suit in October 2011.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin June 1. Some opponents, including Lyon and , say they are willing to stand in front of bulldozers to prevent its start.
The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Plan project calls for replacement of non-native vegetation with native vegetation, adjustments to slopes and channels, and removal of bridges in a 12-acre portion of the lagoon.
Proponents say the project will improve oxygen circulation and the general health of the lagoon. Opponents say it will harm the lagoon and that species will die. They object to the use of bulldozers, the removal of the bridges and other features.