The BCDC’s recent loss of their case against John Sweeney’s Point Buckler Island has only caused them to modify their strategy regarding Westpoint Harbor in Redwood City. Despite numerous local citizen supporters and an award-winning environmental design, the BCDC is going out of its way to shut down the facility. In response, supporters are asking people to sign a Change.org petition and attend the next public enforcement hearing this Thursday, January 18, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Bay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale Street, Board Room, First Floor, in San Francisco. You can review the full agenda here.
The BCDC was created 50 years ago to help remedy an exceptionally polluted Bay and prevent it from becoming filled in and landscaped, and to provide public access. Seeing so many whales in the Bay this summer reminds us what a success the environmental improvements have been. But environmental goals appear to have overshadowed public access. Is there anything that provides more access to the Bay than a marina? The BCDC touts some of its positive contributions to the Bay as, "The Bay shoreline is now fringed by hundreds of miles of trails, parks, beaches, promenades and restoration projects." But it would be wrong to confuse a Bay fringed by trails, parks and promenades with access. Access means the ability to get in or on the Bay.
Beaches allow Bay access for swimmers, but Bay access for boaters is provided by marinas, launch ramps, dry storage areas with hoists, yacht clubs and similar facilities. This past weekend we actually wanted to launch a small inflatable for a photo session and were dismayed to find the only places to launch in Marin, a county surrounded by water, were San Rafael, Sausalito, Marshall and Black Point — exceptionally limited.
We think if the BCDC were truly committed to providing Bay access rather than just Bay views, they’d be fully supportive of model marinas like Westpoint Harbor. Sailing the Bay is one of the huge lifestyle magnets for living in the Bay Area and is one reason people might consider paying exorbitant sums to live here. But if the BCDC is going to use their authority to restrict access to the Bay they will be curtailing one of the region’s biggest draws.
We appreciate all the BCDC has done to clean up the Bay, restore marshlands, and prevent Bay fill, but we think their mandate to provide access should make the agency a huge booster of marinas and other marine businesses that support that mission. Like so many agencies the BCDC was created to solve some problems, but this type of action reminds us of the quote, "Having lost sight of our objectives we’ve redoubled our efforts." Saving the Bay and providing access are not mutually exclusive.