In September La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. vetted an idea from two board members for getting a better handle on controlling beach fires at Marine Street and elsewhere in La Jolla.
LJPB board members Ken Hunrichs and Melinda Merryweather have collaborated on one possible educational solution to problematic beach fires: posted stickers on beach entrance signs.
Reporting on a working group recently established to combat nettlesome beach fires causing burns and air pollution, Janet Stratford Collins said: “We’ve received over 200 emails. They fall into three categories, those who want beach fires to stay with no new regulations, those wanting to make beach fires safer, and those who want to ban them.”
Added Stratford Collins: “A lot of our signs posted at beach entrances are negative – no glass, no beach fires, no alcohol, etc. We’ve got a proposal for a prototype sticker, now being worked on with Dan Daneri of City Parks, that’s positive. It says, ‘Beach fires allowed 5 a.m. to midnight.’ It goes through what is the proper way to do a beach fire, in rings or with personal barbecues, stating current beach regulations requiring the use of charcoal, clean wood or paper products, and no trash.”
Stratford Collins noted the working group is suggesting the prototype stickers could be used to amend beach entrance signage making them more easily and clearly understandable by beach patrons.
“There’s been a lot of back-and-forth on beach signs,” concurred LJPB president Ann Dynes.
LJPB board member John Shannon pointed out a possible deficiency with proposed stickers.
“People don’t read signs the way they used to,” he said. “Maybe there should be something more like a map that shows what’s allowed, and what’s prohibited. There’s a lot of value there.”
Added Shannon: “Whenever we do these draconian things telling people what they can’t do; they will just do whatever they want anyway. If we tell people, ‘This is what we allow,’ then they’re encouraged (to comply).”
Board member John Leek noted: “City Parks with their rangers is the first responder for anything on the beach. However, they don’t have the budget to have rangers parked on every beach or any beach. The only reason police go onto the beach is because of an emergency, and there were no rangers available to take care of the situation because of budget problems.”
Resident Dorie DeFranco said: “All parts of the City are working under the same municipal code. If you change conditions on one beach, it changes for all the City beaches. And if you do call the non-emergency number and report an illegal beach fire, it gets routed through police dispatch and goes to the fire department. Police do not ever come.”
Noted LJPB board member Hunrichs, “A lot of beaches have those hot coal disposal containers, but not at Marine Street.”
“They’re not serviced any more by the City and they required special equipment to dispose of coals,” replied Dynes. “The containers have no bottoms so emptying them requires more than just lifting something out or turning them upside down, otherwise the coals go all over.”
LJPB will next meet Oct. 26 via Zoom.