It starts this Saturday at the Aquarium of the Pacific in what is described as an “informational session.” That will be followed by three workshops in the next couple of months where residents can have their suggestions and ideas heard by the engineers doing the study.
“It’s a key component of the study,” said Tom Modica, manager of governmental affairs for the city.
“I am looking forward to this discussion, which could be the first step towards clean water and restoring our shore,” said Fourth District Councilman Patrick O’Donnell, who was one of the leaders advocating the study. “This is the public’s first opportunity to learn about the scope of the reconnaissance study.”
The meeting this weekend will be purely informational, mostly an explanation about the process and study itself, Modica said. There will be a presentation describing the overall process, as well as some words from Moffatt & Nichol, the engineering firm hired by the city to do the reconnaissance study.
That meeting takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
The real work takes place at the next three workshops, Modica said.
“The workshops are going to be very interactive,” Modica said. “We’re also trying to make them sequential, so people can show up to all three and get something different. Or they can show up to just one and make sure their voice is heard.”
The first workshop, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. next Wednesday (Oct. 8) at the Belmont Plaza Pool banquet room, will cover some broad areas and get people’s feedback on what they want to see and what is important to them.
The second workshop — 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Long Beach Gas & Oil facility at 2400 Spring St. — will build upon what was discussed at the first workshop. The third one — 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the aquarium — will focus on even more refinement.
Then all the information gleaned at these meetings will be taken by the engineers as the study itself is put together in the next year, Modica said.
The City Council voted to do the first phase of the study earlier this year and have the city pay for it themselves after failed requests to get Congress to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to be involved.
However, while the city can do this study, the breakwater itself is still under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and it will take Congressional action to take any steps — including getting the Army Corps to even read the study the city is preparing.
If the Corps receives funding to review the reconnaissance study, the next step would be a feasibility study to decide whether a difference could be made — and the city would have to bear half that cost, whicl could be several million dollars.
Then, if Congress approved work on the breakwater, the city would have to pay for a portion of that as well.
But any journey starts with the first steps. And the city is looking to residents to help with those steps.