I spoke at a recent Seal Beach Planning Commission meeting in favor of expanding Gum Grove Park and preserving the wetlands. The developer favors a gate-guarded community of 660 condominiums and 113 homes, which will double the population of the "hill" area. A relatively small golf course is also planned.
Seal Beach currently has the least public open space of any city in Orange County. In view of this, what is the proper use for one of the only remaining undeveloped areas of our city? If the park and wetlands are expanded and restored, current and future residents and visitors will all have access to recreation land in the proximity of wetlands, the natural habitat of a surprisingly wide variety of plants and animals, many species of which are endangered.
If the gate-guarded development occurs, how many current and future residents would have access to the land? Where will the birds nest when some of the last remaining wetlands on the West Coast are destroyed?
Despite the increased crowding, the issue of real importance here is the park and wetlands. Detractors of the park claim it is dirty and lacks adequate policing. There may be some truth to this, but these hardly seem insurmountable problems and certainly do not warrant the conclusion that the park should be developed and the public excluded.
Once the species dependent on wetlands are lost, they are absolutely irreplaceable. Condos can always be built somewhere else. There is little doubt that our children will see gate-guarded condos when they grow up and have their own children. Let us make sure they also will see birds and public, open space.