The county Board of Supervisors approved funding to repair a series of docks near Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey and to keep the Marina Summer Shuttle Service active for two years at its April 17 meeting.

The project will be paid for through a series of transfers and grants.

Currently, there are 33 boat tie-up guest slips near the park as well as a slip for a waterbus. A boat pump-out station is located in the area.

The project will entail removal of what county officials say is an “aging and outdated” dock system and repair the landside facilities, which will include the installation of a portable facility that will permit boats without sanitary facilities to dispose of their waste properly.

Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe said he hears constantly about the condition of the docks and repairing them has been one of the county’s priorities.

“The county’s replacement of the transient boat docks at Burton Chace Park is another example of our efforts to invest in public infrastructure,” said the supervisor, who represents Marina del Rey. “These boat docks are the number-one complaint we get from boaters. They are about 25 years old and desperately in need of refurbishment.”

Knabe pointed out that the new docks will be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act.

When the new docks are installed the number of slips is expected to be 44, with an increase of approximately 60 percent more side-tie docking space.

The project is estimated to coast approximately $5.4 million, which will come from the Marina del Rey Replacement Accumulative Capital Outlay funds as well as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Boating Infrastructure Grant.

Noble Consultants Inc. will be will be in charge of the project’s design.

Aside from what many consider to be a drastic increase in slip fees, several recreational boat owners have complained over the years about the condition of many of the docks in Marina del Rey, often comparing the Marina’s infrastructure – restrooms and other recreational facilities – as being inferior to other harbors.

According to the Department of Beaches and Harbors, the park docks were last refurbished approximately 25 years ago.

According to Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka, the dock replacement project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

The project, which has been in the pipeline for several years, will take approximately 18 months to complete.

The supervisors also approved funding through 2013 for the Marina del Rey Summer Shuttle Service. The shuttle is operated by Playa Vista Parks and according to county Public Works Director Gail Farber, Playa Vista is the “only operator that expressed an interest in providing” the shuttle service.

The agreement with Playa Vista is for $60,000 annually over two years.

Over the last several years, the shuttle has sought to expand its service from Playa Vista, Marina del Rey and Venice.

Knabe sees both the funding of the WaterBus and repairing the Burton Chace docks as two components of enhancing the Marina and increasing tourism and revenue.

“Through this project, we will be increasing the number of boat slips within the same footprint, upgrading land-side utilities and the WaterBus stop, and ensuring that the new dock system is ADA compliant,” he said. “Not only will the docks look better, these enhancements will improve recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.”

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