Newport council delays seawall vote

As the waters in Newport Beach slowly rise, the City Council decided it could wait a little longer to replace the Balboa Island seawalls.

Councilman Ed Selich, who represents the island, asked that the council delay its scheduled vote Tuesday on a contract to design new seawalls and prepare construction documents.

After the council meeting, he said he had dozens of questions about the project, but generally supported it.

Balboa and Little Balboa islands, which are four feet above sea level in some spots, have 1930s-era seawalls that are cracking in places.

High tides often top the concrete barriers during winter storms, and scientists expect the problem to worsen as the climate changes and the sea level continues to rise.

The city plans to hire an engineering firm to start planning the massive construction project.

Selich said he wanted to know how residents would access their docks during construction, and he wanted a more detailed timeline, among other concerns, about the $1.3-million design contract.

A few Balboa Island residents attended the meeting but left once the issue was delayed.

"It has taken us this long to get it here," City Manager Dave Kiff said after the meeting. "The sea level isn't rising that quickly."


Firefighters contract

In other matters, the council approved a new contract with the Fire Management Assn., the group that represents five members of the Fire Department brass.

The contract features a hybrid retirement plan that combines pensions with an optional 401(k)-style matching contribution.

Twitter: @mreicher

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