The restoration of the Naples canal seawall could cost at least twice as much as the original proposal.
That's a finding in a feasibility study that the city staff will be submitting to the state Coastal Commission staff in the next few weeks.
The commission staff apparently will have to back off from its advocacy of a restoration plan that would be on the land side of the seawall, or the city will need to hunt for more resources for the project.
To date, the commission staff has adamantly backed the land-side plan. Its staunch position has prompted Naples residents to lobby Vice Mayor Robert Garcia - the newest member of the Coastal Commission - to oppose the land-side restoration that the commission staff wants.
Maureen Poe, chairwoman of the Naples Seawall Committee, said there was no commitment from Garcia.
The rookie commissioner has not inched from his neutral corner. He vowed to evaluate all information from ongoing discussions with the residents and city and commission staffs.
"I'm very interested in continuing the discussions with residents and city team," Garcia said.
The city's original proposal was to construct a replacement seawall on the water-side of the canal at an estimated cost of $9 million, but Coastal Commission staff requested that land-side options be evaluated.
City staff's feasibility study of the land-side options show it would cost at least twice that amount. It would impact 67 total trees that would need to be removed, according to Eric Lopez, Tidelands capital projects program manager.
Lopez said the land-side restoration would also be more difficult to avoid potential damage to private property, and reduce the public access area by 5 to 7 feet while widening the size of the canal.
The full results of the feasibility study for the land-side options will be submitted to the Coastal Commission staff as part of the city's application for a coastal development permit.
The commission staff's preference for a land-side restoration is, in great part, based on concern about possible damage to important marine life.
Chuck Posner, an analyst with the commission staff, could not be reached for comment.
"The city's consultants continue to recommend the water-side option," Lopez said - an option the city will continue to pursue.
"I cannot say how the Coastal Commission staff will respond to our report," Lopez said. "Ideally they would agree with our conclusions and recommend approval of the water-side seawall rebuild option."
The big stars of the wetlands should be on hand this Saturday.
Egrets, herons, migratory ducks, song birds, sparrows, goldfinches, raptors and more should be at Los Cerritos wetlands section in Seal Beach.
"It is a beautiful, peaceful experience," said Mary Parcell of the El Dorado Audubon who will host an 8 a.m. walk.
From Long Beach, take Pacific Coast Highway to First Street in Seal Beach, turn left and park off the asphalt.
Another bird-watch walk is scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 16 at Gum Grove Park, which overlooks Los Cerritos Wetlands.
From Long Beach, take PCH, and turn left on Mar Vista; turn left on Coastline, followed by a quick right on Catalina; make a left on Avalon, which dead-ends at Gum Grove parking lot.
For information on the walks, email firstname.lastname@example.org.