Mothers Beach — officially called the Marina Beach — in Marina del Rey has had a rather sad reputation.
The beach sits at the end of Basin D, a cul-de-sac of water that doesn’t get much — if any — tidal flushing action enjoyed by other Marina water basins.
For decades, the beach has been a favorite with birds, many that came seeking a crumb or two left behind by beach visitors.
Marina officials were embarrassed when county staffers from downtown measuring pollution counts at beaches up and down the coast found Mothers Beach the worst of the worst.
Things got worse when Heal the Bay cranked up its beach monitoring program and especially its well covered “report card” of pollution at local beaches.
Mothers Beach too often got an F rating from Heal the Bay, which was well publicized in the media throughout the region.
County officials tried a whole parade of alternatives, attempting to mitigate the pollution of Mothers Beach.
Thin wires were strung above the beach to keep the birds away.
That didn’t work.
A small aerator was placed in the water, to stir up the water and, hopefully, disseminate the pollutants.
That didn’t do much either.
As Heal the Bay and others kept pounding away that Mothers Beach waters were among the worst in the county, Sunset Magazine and other “family oriented” publications discovered Mothers Beach and proclaimed it a wonderful hideaway with still waters that are perfect for wading toddlers.
Indeed, that is how the Marina Beach came to be called Mothers Beach in the first place — because so many mothers were bringing their little darlings to the “still waters” of this cute little beach and shoving the kiddies out into the water.
For persons who use wheelchairs, there was — and is — a launching area and special wheelchairs available that can stand salty water.
Marina officials are about to try still another effort at mitigating the pollution. A bigger and, hopefully, more effective aerator has been ordered and “should be here soon,” says a Marina spokesperson.
More than a decade ago, the county decided it needed a grand plan for the redevelopment of the Marina and came up with something called The Marina Asset Management Strategy.
Keystones to this “strategy” were two major project areas that would serve as “catalysts” to stimulate other development in the Marina.
One “catalyst” area included Marina Beach and a second at Admiralty and Fiji Ways would include movie theaters, shops and other attractions that would stimulate lots and lots of development and visitors to the Marina.
To date, neither of the these two “catalyst” project areas has been developed.
In fact, they may be the last to be redeveloped — but that is another story about the “asset management strategy” of the Marina.
Back to the beach.
RRM Design Group has designed a major proposal for a big “redo” of the Mothers Beach area.
A rendering of this proposal is on page 10.
The plan would incorporate plans by Marriott Residence Inn to build a new hotel on a county parking lot at Admiralty Way and Via Marina, a Jamaica Bay Inn renovation and a major, major project east of Palawan Way on the site of the present Harbor House and Edie’s Diner restaurants and a county parking area.
A little chunk of the Cheesecake Factory parcel would be lost, to be replaced by a park and a valet parking lane that would wind through the park and lead to a new parking structure near the present Marina Fitness building on Panay Way.
New facilities for small boats and kayaks would be included on the east side of Basin D and two new docks, with slips for small boats would be included.
This plan is so big that there was something in the plan for everyone to object to.
And they did.
Among the biggest complaints are opposition to the valet parking lane that would run through a new park at the southwest end of the project.
Imagine. A valet parking lane running through a park designed for small children running to a beach.
Now, before the kiddies get to jump into the polluted waters of Mothers Beach, they can be mowed down by cars whizzing down a valet parking lane to a new parking structure.
Who dreams up such stuff?
To get some of the heat off their backs, county officials are having the County Marina Design Control Board hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 26th, in the Burton Chace Park Community Building, 13650 Mindanao Way. Information, (310) 305-9503.