Local News

Aug 18, 2010 9:39 PM by Ariel Wesler

City leaders continue plans to dredge Laguna Lake

Dredging Laguna Lake has been an ongoing issue for San Luis Obispo City Councilmembers.

The council met last night for the third time since November to discuss whether to go ahead with cleaning it out. They decided not to scrap the plans, but continue developing them. Debris has hurt the lake's appearance and added flooding problems for residents.

"I wouldn't swim in it now. You can look at the water. You can smell the water," said Paul Bonjour, who has lived lakeside for 12 years.

Laguna Lake is due for a makeover.

"Because it's gotten shallower, that's led to more algae, so the water isn't as clear," said San Luis Obispo City Councilman Andrew Carter.

Residents living nearby says it's long overdue. More than 50 years of silt and brush have built up in the water and that's frustrating many residents living nearby.

"It could be much more of a tourist attraction than what it is if they would dredge it and spend some money on it," Bonjour said.

But draining the lake to clean it out will also drain big bucks out of the city's pocket, so city leaders have continued to postpone plans.

"We're talking in the order of two to three million dollars over 10 years," Carter said.

City staff will get cost estimates for the project and look at ways to pay for it. Some options include the general fund, grant money, and an added fee for those living on the lake.

"The folks who live on the lake have sort of a specific benefit and I think the majority of the council believes they should be contributing some money directly themselves," Carter said.

"It's just another way to get money to solve their problems that they should have solved a long time ago," Bonjour said.

Add heavy rains and the problems go from bad to worse.

"There actually was people out on Oceanair out here in canoes, going up and down the street," Bonjour said.

If eventually approved by the new city council next year, money wouldn't start flowing into the project until July.

Of course, what comes out of the lake must go somewhere. The city eventually hopes to reach an agreement with one of the neighboring ranchers to dispose of the debris on their property. The city says that would be the most cost effective. Carter says most of the debris filling up the lake is coming from Prefumo creek.

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