Catalina Island
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Reported on:
August 23, 2017 - 1:51am

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

The Catalina Island Company has pledged a new source of groundwater for a planned workforce housing project at Las Casitas, according to Avalon City Manager David Jinkens. Remaining water would go for use in the city.

“This is good news,” Jinkens said. “It’s not anything final.”

Jinkens gave the Avalon City Council an update on continuing discussions about building affordable workforce housing at Las Casitas and Upper Tremont.

The Avalon City Council, acting as the Board of Trustees for the local hospital, unanimously reappointed Michael Ponce and Catrina Awalt to the Catalina Island Medical Center’s Board of Directors. Ponce is a former council member. Awalt is a local businesswoman and former member of the Chamber of Commerce board. Ponce and Awalt recently completed their first three-year terms on the CIMC Board of Directors and reapplied for the positions.

The Avalon City Council will hold a study session 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 1, to look at the city’s legal options now that voters have legalized adult recreational marijuana use. The regular council meeting begins at 6 p.m. The state government has a January 2018 deadline to establish rules and regulations for legal cannabis. According to news reports, it is not clear if state agencies will be able to meet that deadline. Cities, meanwhile, have until January to decide whether to allow marijuana and, if so, how to regulate it locally.

Heal the Bay recently gave Avalon’s beach an “A” for summer dry weather water quality in the environmental group’s annual “Beach Report Card.” This was the fourth year in a row that Avalon received high marks for water quality. According to the Beach Report Card, Avalon was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 on the annual list of “Beach Bummers” from 2009 to 2013.

The Avalon City Council this week voted unanimously to increase sewer fees and salt water rates for the next five years.

The council also approved a ban on plastic foam food containers.

“The overall sewer rates increased an average of 3.5 percent beginning July 1, 2017,” said Finance Director Robert Mescher.

The City Council unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance banning plastic foam food packaging containerss. The proposed law must return to the council for final approval. The ban on plastic foam, also known as Polystyrene, is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.  

“I’m in favor of it starting on Sept. 1st, but I’m just happy that it’s happening,” said Councilwoman Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy.

The owner of two pit bulls that attacked a visitor in April was arrested last Saturday on suspicion of felony “failure to control mischieveious animals,” according to Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Station.

In related news, a judge ordered the dogs destroyed on May 19, according to City Attorney Scott Campbell. The deadline to appeal the decision has passed and no appeal has been filed.

Avalon City Manager David Jinkens and the city’s grant manager recently attended a California Department of Water Resources workshop on funding for desalination projects. “The full development of desal in Avalon along with use of solar power to run desal operations will make the  application for funding competitive,” Jinkens said in an email to the Islander.

The two large dogs that attacked a man and his smaller dog will never be allowed to return to Avalon. Last week a judge declared the two “pit bulls” to be vicious, according to City Attorney Scott Campbell.

Campbell said the judge continued the hearing on their fate until May 19, when the judge will determine whether the animals will be euthanized.

He said one of the things the judge was looking at is whether there is a facility for vicious dogs that would allow them to live out their lives.

City officials will ask a judge today, Friday, May 5, to have two American bull terriers destroyed following a recent attack on a Huntington Beach man and his Jack Russell terrier in Avalon, according to City Attorney Scott Campbell. The dogs are on the mainland now while everyone involved is awaiting a judge’s decision. The owner of the two dogs has reportedly agreed to allow the dogs to be euthanized.

City Manager David Jinkens said he would attend the hearing.