February 16, 2001
The Oceanside Harbor Board/City Council has determined that its effort with the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research (PIER) to build a marine research/aquarium project in the harbor beach area has reached a final conclusion. Both parties have agreed not to pursue that specific project as an element of the overall Harbor Improvement Project.
The City and PIER worked together with the community to develop a marine research/aquarium project to be located in the harbor beach area. During this process, issues were identified that needed resolution before the project could be initiated. The PIER facility is one component of a larger project called the Harbor Beach Improvement Project. The other two components are the launch ramp areas improvements and beach area improvements.
Due to issues raised by the California Coastal Commission on land use on harbor beach, the project, as originally envisioned, was reduced in scale. PIER and the Oceanside Harbor Board/City Council pursued a smaller version of a public aquarium as a compromise to address these issues.
This reduction significantly hampers the economic viability of the aquarium component of the project. PIER has decided it could build and sustain the marine education and research center components of its project, but not the aquarium due to the cost and economic feasibility of conducting the aquarium component of the project as a public attraction. Without the aquarium, the Harbor Board/City Council decided not to proceed further with the project.
The use agreement for PIER's temporary facility adjacent to the harbor launch ramp calls for this use to be contingent upon going forward with a project that includes an aquarium element. With this new development, PIER has been notified that the use of the area needs to be returned to the City by the later part of August 2001. The City will continue to move forward to obtain permitting and funding for the launch ramp and beach areas improvements.
The City and PIER have worked closely to achieve a project of importance and attraction to the region, and mutually enjoyed the relationship over the last few years and share in the disappointment of not being able to go forward with the marine education and research center, and aquarium facility.
The Pfleger Institute for Environmental Research and its staff are to be complimented for their endeavors and accomplishments.