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Start of Malibu Lagoon Project Pushed to Next Week

The overhaul of the Malibu Lagoon is permitted to begin Friday, but will likely not start until early next week.

A group of more than 50 protesters holding signs rallied against the Malibu Lagoon project on the same day the work is permitted to begin.

The project, which is led by California State Parks, could begin as early as Monday, but it will take some time for the bulldozers, which are needed to remove sediment from the lagoon, to be brought in, according to officials.

State Parks District Superintendent Craig Sap said the start of the project was delayed because of the 12th annual Pat Notaro Day charity event at the request of Malibu City Councilman Skylar Peak, who represented the wish of others in the community.

Peak said in an interview with Malibu Patch that the meeting took place in mid-May.

"I told them, 'I think it’s in the best interest of the kids if they were to postpone it," Peak said.

Sap said the postponement of the start of the project has nothing to do with concerns raised by opponents about the dewatering plan. 

"We’re not hiding anything," Sap said. " ... We want to make sure their rights are respected. The dewatering is not being changed because of the protest."

He said that the conditions of the lagoon are factored into the dewatering plan, and that those additions to the plan are part of the process. He added that it is being peer-reviewed by an independent engineer.

Sap added once the dewatering plan is completed, it will be released to the public.

The contractor, Ford E.C. Inc., met on site about 10 a.m. to discuss the plans for the project, but some protesters, including Andy Lyon and Cindy Vandor, began peppering them with questions.

One of the men, who said he was with Ford E.C., but refused to give his name, said he felt he was being harassed.

Five Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and two State Parks rangers that were patrolling the parking lot and surrounding area came over, and the contractors left.

"We're here to keep the peace," said State Parks Ranger Darrell Readyhoff.

Lyon said he was not harassing the contractors.

"We just asked who are you and what are you doing? It's a public process," Lyon said. He also said he still has concerns about the dewatering plan.

"They keep saying this was so transparent but here at the last minute they are making changes to the plan without letting anybody know. It’s so sketchy," Lyon said.

Out on Pacific Coast Highway, the protesters, mostly Malibu surfers and activists, waved signs that read "Bully Dozers" and "Save Our Lagoon," at the parking lot.

Steve Woods and several others with the Surfrider Foundation set up a booth in support of the project.

Malibu Mayor Laura Zahn Rosenthal said she did not stop by the protest because she was calling state officials and meeting with local law enforcement.

"I feel that my role is to work by talking to different governmental agencies," Rosenthal said.

is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, according to organizers. Protesters plan to meet up on the ocean side of Cross Creek Road and Pacific Coast Highway.

Proponents say the plan, which could last months, will include the draining of 12 acres of the wetland as part of an effort to clean out the lagoon's channels and increase oxygen circulation.

Opponents believe the project will do more harm than good. They object to the use of bulldozers, the removal of the bridges and other features.

Last week, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that the project .

On Tuesday, the Malibu City Council discussed last-minute options on how to delay the start of the project. Malibu City Manager Jim Thorsen said State Parks decided to switch up its "dewatering plan," a term used to describe the process of draining the water out of the lagoon, after hearing comments from the city.

Thorsen said he met with Sap on Friday morning, and that the city is awaiting the plan.

"We’d love to have that information so we can take a look at it," Thorsen said.

The council voted to in its current form earlier this year and filed an amicus brief in the appeal of a lawsuit seeking the revocation of a California Coastal Commission permit issued for the project.

Marshall Thompson June 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM
And YOU are who, exactly? You make my point, uh, "Jo Mama."
Jo Cherkas June 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Hello, Marshall, My name is Jo Cherkas. That's who. I'm not hiding behind a name. I just like using Jo Mama as my Internet user name. I didn't realize that it's against the rules to use my nickname as a user name. I wasn't trying to be rude or snarky. I was just giving an opinion. Geesh. Sometimes I'm sorry I even make a comment around this place. Have a nice day, y'all. - Jo Mama
John June 04, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Marshal thinks nobody should be allowed to use an alias because he wasn't smart to think of it himself.
Just_Trolling June 05, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Nicely done Jo...name is Laura, nice to meet you. :0)
M Stanley June 15, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Susan, did you receive a donation check signed by one "Trout Rule" yet? I'd love to see a copy of that, but I do hope that "Trout Rule" makes good on his promise to send a donation as he claims in this reply. Trout Rule - did you complete your penance or is the fact that you misspelled the word allow you to skate through it all?

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