Catalina Island News

Cruise Ship Pier at the Mole Being Considered Again

City of Avalon

The City of Avalon is currently working to strengthen and repair the under-structure of the Cabrillo Transportation Center and then conduct a design competition for a new above-structure facility there. The City Council is being asked to award design work for the under-structure repairs at its meeting of January 17, 2017.

As City government and the community evaluate options for the above-structure at the Mole, a proposal was made by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce to further examine a six-year-old proposal to determine the feasibility study of a berthing facility at the Mole for cruise ships. No commitment to build such a facility has been approved nor agreed to by the City Council.

At its meeting of June 21, 2016, the City Council directed the following actions be taken in regard to the idea:

  1. Direct Staff to work with the cruise ship liaison committee in setting up a meeting to talk about the feasibility of financing first and what it would be.
  2. Verify that the floating pier will work in our waters.
  3. Present all findings to the public and get their opinion on the project.
  4. The movement of this project is to wait until the new city Manager is in place and is able to participate from the beginning.

From the direction provided by the City Council it is clear that the City Council and community need more information about the idea to determine if it is financially feasible, technically possible, and whether it is acceptable to the people of Avalon. It is important that whatever is done at the Cabrillo Transportation Center (i.e. Mole) be wise, safe, and does not divert from the historical character of Avalon. How would a berthing facility and disembarkation of passengers directly onto the Mole impact traffic, cross-channel service, and other current activities there?

A work plan for the next steps will be devised by City management and presented to the City Council and community for comment and consideration. Tour ships annually bring many visitors to Avalon annually, and their passenger's interest in Avalon is appreciated. City officials with input from the community need to decide if a berthing facility is a good solution for Avalon.

California Coastal Commission staff has indicated their interest in meeting with City staff to discuss their perspective on our transportation center planning project in advance of it beginning, and their insight and suggestions will be of great value as the City moves forward.

David Jinkens, M.P.A.
City Manager