The Boulder Bay Park is one step closer to the implementation of upgrades and new features, given Monday’s action by the City Council of Big Bear Lake. Based on the award of a $350,000 grant, approved by the California Transportation Commission, enhancements to the park, initially approved by the Planning Commission, were reviewed by Council, once broken down by city staff into three areas: landscape view corridor, water features, and the commercial marina permit (which the City has had since purchasing the Boulder Bay Park in 1955). Loren Hafen, property manager for adjacent Boulder Bay condos and owner of Holloway’s Marina, thanked Council for city staff’s outreach efforts to marinas and, with regard to the proposed landscape plan, expressed, “I still recommend not having trees, because in 20 years, those are going to be pretty big. The view of the lake is the most important thing to cherish.” To that end, city staff has already gone to great lengths to assure that potential Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pines and oak trees would not infringe on the view for nearby homes or those entering Big Bear Lake on Highway 18. Though existing trees will be left intact and a landscape plan without new trees but flowering plants (Sierra Gooseberry, Soapberry, Wild Rose and Red-Stemmed Dogwood) instead was presented, Mayor Rick Herrick said, “I believe we should not put the trees in, and that has been my concern from day one.” Given much conversation, to add trees or not to add trees was finally put to a vote, given an amended motion that would include new trees minus those proposed for the parking area. Councilmembers Bill Jahn, Michael Karp and Darrell Mulvihill voted in favor of the addition of trees and, included in that vote, the Council also authorized city staff to go to bid on the Boulder Bay Park landscaping project. Water features for the park originally included a floating fishing dock, a non-motorized launch ramp and a temporary transient mooring dock, all elements that contributed to the receipt of the grant money—though, given the introduction of the Quagga threat since that time, Council is rethinking these items and, in fact, city staff recommended keeping only the fishing dock. To include a ramp and the mooring dock would then prompt need for a Quagga inspector on site, and both city staff and Council have been clear that additional personnel is not feasible. Council voted unanimously to adopt the recommendation of staff, which is to keep only the fishing dock in the park plan. As for the commercial marina permit, City Manager Jeff Mathieu said, “We purposely did not recommend on this.” After Council consulted the Municipal Water District’s General Manager Scott Heule, who was in attendance, it was decided that the City of Big Bear Lake would maintain their marina permit, but asked to have it downgraded so as not to include motorized boats. Mathieu noted that this would not be a “front burner” item, but staff would follow-up, as well as investigating that the grant funds would remain intact even if two of the three water features were no longer in the Boulder Bay Park plan.
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