Map of the Mission Bay Gateway Project.
Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC) was told in July they and the entire community ought to begin planning immediately for the Mission Bay Gateway Project, now that the De Anza Cove lawsuit has finally been settled and mobile home owners there will be moving out.
That was the message delivered by Scott Chipman, a longtime Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) member and civic activist, who has been lobbying for years to get public attention redirected back to the long-term redevelopment project.
The Mission Bay Gateway Project seeks to connect and enhance existing facilities, while also expanding and protecting the Mission Bay marshlands and bird sanctuaries. Bike paths and parks could be extended, and new amenities like pools, sports fields, and a restaurant could be added for the community and visitors to enjoy.
The intended result would be creation of an environmental, recreational and educational destination at the heart of Mission Bay.
“I’ve gotten tired and frustrated waiting for the city to do something about it (project),” said Chipman noting he lives near the area, which he noted is a link to “the important educational and recreational amenities and natural environment of Mission Bay.”
Chipman noted the De Anza peninsula is designated as a “special study area” within the Mission Bay Master Plan, which is being updated.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do there,” said Chipman adding, “We’re going to have to do something about that in the future. And that future is long overdue.”
Chipman said one possible improvement could be to enhance marshland in the area, which could help cleanse runoff from Rose Creek.
“We could expand marshland by 50 acres, which could improve water quality by about 50 percent from the Rose Creek outfall, which brings unpurified pollution and sediment into Mission Bay,” Chipman said, adding, “We also have the ability to have a nature interpretive center.”
Chipman added other public improvements connected with the project could include adding parking, a new aquatic center with an Olympic-size pool and/or creating more bike and walking paths, as well as enhancing tennis and campground facilities — even building a public amphitheater — might all be possible.
“Right now PB doesn’t have its own pool and needs more recreation space,” Chipman said, adding area bike paths are also presently not connected.
“Those connections are available if we plan properly,” he said.
The community activist said he’s been campaigning to begin vetting alternative uses for the Mission Bay Gateway Master Plan, having addressed thousands of people in community groups for the past five years.
“People love the idea and say they want to get more involved,” he added.
Chipman counseled that the city “doesn’t just need to study the De Anza Peninsula. We need a comprehensive plan for the entire area.”
From the audience, Paula Ferraco asked if community garden space could be provided in an updated master plan.
“I see no reason why not,” answered Chipman.
Chipman, however, noted time is critical.
“We need to start talking about it (park planning) now,” he said. “We need to put pressure on the city to start vetting alternatives now for a process, which could take 10 years.”