Speak up Tuesday about Mariners Village

Would they bulldoze Bel Air or Beverly Hills? Would they massacre all of the mature trees in Manhattan Beach or Malibu? Of course not. So why do they want to remove the urban forest located at Mariners Village in Marina del Rey?

Mariners Village is a nature sanctuary for wildlife and humans alike. It is the last nesting area for the Great Blue Heron in this part of Los Angeles. It is also the home of the Black-crowned Night Heron, the Double-Crested Cormorant and many other creatures.

We need to start thinking outside the box for Los Angeles, instead of the same old paradigm of bulldoze and build.

Couldn’t we promote eco-tourism in Marina del Rey to attract nature lovers to observe the abundance of coastal birds and wildlife? Dozens of creatures still thrive in the Ballona Valley between the Playa del Rey dunes and the Santa Monica Mountains, thanks in large part to organizations like Ballona Institute. There could be an abundance of biking and walking trails throughout the wetlands, around the Playa del Rey, Oxford and Ballona lagoons and on to the California Least Tern preserve, the Venice Canals and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Couldn’t we build a Disneyland-like monorail that would connect the existing Green Line to the new Expo Line, which will run from Santa Monica to downtown L.A.?  This monorail could take passengers from LAX to their hotels in Marina del Rey, creating a loop around the Ballona Valley, along Lincoln Boulevard and the Playa del Rey sand dunes, home of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly and California Gnatcatcher (a migratory songbird).

Couldn’t we place the power lines underground and build two viewing towers on either side of Culver Blvd., from which visitors could observe and appreciate the wildlife and landscape through telescopes? A walking bridge could connect the two towers over Culver Blvd., which could be elevated over the wetlands to allow a wildlife corridor. Walking trails could lead from the towers and meander through the wetlands. Ballona Valley could be part of a larger network of wildlife corridors and nature preserves throughout Los Angeles, from Ballona Creek to Kenneth Hahn State Park, from the L.A. River to Griffith Park, from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve in Marina del Rey.

The monorails could provide virtual GPS goggles with which you could set the year to 1914, for example, and view the landscape as it looked 100 years ago. You could scan ahead to more recent years to see how the wetlands have changed, but learn how the remaining 600+ acres of Ballona Wetlands is still valuable land for dozens of creatures.

Couldn’t we create a Marina del Rey/Venice Historic District, of which Fisherman’s Village, Whiskey Red’s, Burton Chace Park, The Warehouse Restaurant, Mariners Village and the Venice Canals would be part?

Couldn’t L.A.’s leaders and visionaries take the lead in the world to implement this eco-tourism and nature preservation concept?

Please attend the meeting at Burton Chace Park at 6 p.m. Tuesday to help stop the pillaging of Mariners Village and prove that man, machine and nature can live in harmony.

William R. Hicks

Marina del Rey