Catalina Island
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Reported on:
November 25, 2017 - 8:51am

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

Stage 2 water rationing will begin Aug. 11, representatives of Southern California Edison told the Avalon City Council Tuesday night, July 1.

The utility company sent several representatives to Catalina to provide the council with an update on the fresh water situation.

Meanwhile, Edison reps reported that a West End area well has failed to meet secondary drinking water standards and water is being trucked to that part of the Island.

According to Council Member Joe Sampson, some water is being diverted from Avalon to the West End.

The Avalon City Council unanimously decided against acting on an urgency water-use regulating ordinance at the Tuesday, June 17 meeting.

Mayor Anni Marshall and Council Member Joe Sampson had asked staff to draw up the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance, among other things, would have prohibited the use of fresh water in construction  and did not include an end date for water restrictions.

Avalon residents and business owners have begun receiving notices from Southern California Edison, telling them just how much water will be allotted to them when water rationing begins. The notices came with customers’ regular bills. Anyone who applies for a variance on their water allotment may use 30 gallons a day while the application is being considered.

The city will not create a committee to advise the Avalon Sheriff’s Station.

That was the outcome of a lengthy discussion among officials at the Tuesday, May 20, Avalon City Council meeting.

Instead, the city manager, the station commander and any individual City Council member will hold informal meetings as needed to address complaints about the local Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station.

There was no formal vote on the matter.

April 2014 visitor traffic increased by 28.8 percent over April 2013, according to figures recently released by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce.

This April’s cross-channel carrier traffic increased by 20.7 percent from last April and the cruise ship visitor count increased by 45.5 percent from April 2014.

Percentages can be misleading without the actual numbers. For example, two is 100 percent more than one.

In April 2013, there were 64,224 visitors to Catalina Island. In April 2014, there were 82,703 visitors.

The contract between Avalon and On the Wing falconry service has expired. City Manager Ben Harvey said negotiations are on-going. Master falconer Rocky Post said all of his birds and equipment are now on the mainland.

Post said in a recent email that the contract between his business and the city expired on April 27.

The Avalon City Council voted unanimously at the Tuesday, May 6, meeting to continue a city hiring freeze that has been in effect since March. The council members agreed to allow the city to employ individuals to fill three full-time positions that have become vacant, but keep the hiring freeze in place.

The council also looked at removing abandoned vehicles from Catalina Island.

Hiring freeze

City Manager Ben Harvey had proposed rescinding the freeze on hiring full-time employees.

“A man’s life is his own. His water belongs to the tribe.”

—Frank Herbert, “Dune”

Strict water rationing may begin in July, according to a Southern California Edison representative.

When Stage 2 water rationing begins, residents and business owners will be required to reduce their water usage by 25 percent, based on the water they used from June 2012 to May 2013.

Residents will receive their water allotments in their monthly bills.

Balancing the budget, expanding drinking water resources and cleaning Avalon Bay were among the goals council members said they would like to achieve in two years at the special Wednesday, April 23, City Council meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to hold a workshop to discuss and prioritize the goals of the council.

City Manager Ben Harvey moderated the discussion.

He said the new council members would be working together for at least the next two years.

Stage 2 water rationing could come to Avalon in June, according to a Southern California Edison presentation to the Tuesday, April 15, City Council meeting.

Avalon has been in Stage 1 water rationing since June 2013. Stage 1 rationing regulated the use of water for such things as watering lawns and washing cars. Stage 2 rationing will reduce the percentage of water that Avalon residents and businesses are allowed to use.