The Avalon City Council this week unanimously approved a budget amendment to pay for the purchase of k-rail panels and saddles.
The maximum cost would be $55,000, according to the staff report by Maintenance Superintendent Jamie Hmielak.
The council’s decision authorized City Manager David Maistros to buy 20 new k-rail fence panels and 21 fence panel saddles.
“City Council previously approved the purchase of thirty (30) k-rail fence panels with saddles back on March 5, 2019 due to the ‘“Valentine Complex’ that occurred February 19, 2019. The fence panels are used in conjunction with k-rails to create debris barriers along Pebbly Beach Road and St. Catherine Way,” Hmielak wrote.
“Only one vendor at that time was found to be able to fabricate these fence panels to the required specifications, which was Boulder Contracting Company (aka Boulder Consultants),” Hmielak wrote.
According to Hmielak’s report, the rains of this winter and spring took a heavy toll on the hillsides, which in turn forced the city to replace many of the panels. That has, according to the report, depleted the city’s supply.
“Boulder Contracting Company is still the only fabricator that meets the desired specifications for these panels, and would be able supply them before the next storm season,” Hmielak wrote.
According to the staff report, because Boulder Contracting Company is the only vendor that can provide the materials, the purchase is exempt from the city’s bidding requirements.
Mayor Anni Marshall asked about additional funding. City Manager David Maistros said there was money for Pebbly Beach Road that was not specifically earmarked for this
Councilmember Mary Schickling said she didn’t know if the city needed to do this right now, because they were approaching the dry season and because the rainy season is cyclical.
Schickling said she didn’t think Catalina would have the major storms that the island saw this year.
Schickling said she would like to pursue the remediation of that hillside. She also said she has been pushing the net barriers.
Maistros said the city was looking at that. According to Maistros, the city was trying to figure how much netting the city would want to use.
Schickling said she believes it would save money in the long run.
Maistros argued that it is so difficult to get things to the Island in a timely manner, to have a stockpile and have things ready is critical for the city.
Hmielak said the city actually ran out of fence rails this past winter. “We’ve been robbing them from other areas,” Hmielak said.
“Right now we’re actually minus four fence panels,” Hmielak said.
He also said there’s a tremendous lead time for getting the panels, which he put at three or four months.
According to City Attorney Scott Campbell, the city is required to provide year-round protection on that road with the k-rails until the city can put in the netting. Campbell said if there was a problem with that then the insurance might not be issued.
Councilmember Michael Ponce said it was not just inclement weather that caused rock slides.
Marshall said she was concerned about the trees along Casino Way. She said those trees were bigger than rocks. “There are just so many disasters that look like they could happen,” Marshall said.
According to Schickling, it was a great idea when the k-rails were put up and she didn’t have an objection to it. “But technology offers us a more effective way, and a more cost-effective way in the long run,” Schickling said.
Schickling said she would like to start the California Environment Quality Act process right away.
Campbell said the city had a previously approved project for that. The city was going to use redevelopment funds and the state took the funds away. (He later said he thought it was approved 12 years earlier.)
He said the California Coastal Commission is in favor of the netting plan.
Both Marshall and Campbell said the city had a study done. Campbell said the city had Coastal Commission approval. He said that only lasts three years, so the city would have to reapply. Campbell said he had no doubts that the Coastal Commission would approve the project again.
Schickling said that was encouraging to her. Schickling said she wanted to see it happen in her lifetime.