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Council aims to repair, prevent

Committee will be appointed to consider flood measures in Laguna Canyon

emergency project for Main Beach boardwalk approved.

February 03, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

City officials on Tuesday considered ways for residents and businesses to better prepare for and perhaps prevent disasters — even as the city continues to repair damage wrought by the Dec. 22 flood.

The City Council voted unanimously to sponsor a workshop to gather the opinions of residents and businesses about how to deal with disaster, to create a Laguna Canyon Flood Mitigation Task Force, to hire a contractor to repair the Main Beach boardwalk and to work on short-term and permanent restorations of Laguna Canyon Creek at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

"I want to push the workshop forward while the disaster is still on people's minds," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, who will co-chair the workshop with Councilman Kelly Boyd. "We are looking for ideas about what to do before, during and after a disaster and to do it sooner than later."

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Three potential dates have been selected, pending the availability of a facilitator. Regardless of which dates is chosen, it will be a Saturday. Funding will come from the city manager's budget.

Boyd and Councilwoman Verna Rollinger will represent the city on the new task force, which Rollinger sponsored.

"For 40 years, I have seen proposals to address flooding in the canyon, including a dam, purchase of developed properties to facilitate removing the structures on them, and more recently placing a pipe under Broadway," Rollinger said. "These proposals were all rejected because of the enormous cost and the recognition that they wouldn't really solve the problem.

"What I am proposing here is a review of the most recent flood event in the canyon and previous events with the goal of identifying measures we can undertake or recommend to the county and or Caltrans to be better prepared for the next one."

The council backed Rollinger's proposal for a 10-member task force to be composed of the two council members, one planning commissioner and seven at-large members, with at least two of the latter from canyon neighborhoods.

The committee will be appointed at the first council meeting in March.

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Repairs

The council approved a no-bid contract not to exceed $120,000 with Meek Construction to repair the boardwalk.

Funding will be borrowed from the recreation building conversion project, which must be repaid, whether or not the city is reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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