Catalina Island News

Cruise Ship Pier: The Other Option

City of Avalon

A new option has been proposed to the Cruise Ship Pier presented to the City of Avalon October 2011. This option doubles the capacity for Cruise Ship docking, provides better staging areas for passengers, includes a small marina, will also solve the landslide problem on Pebbly Beach Road and provides access for commercial airplanes, all at one nearby location without hindering the presently congested Cabrillo Mole.

Jeffrey W. Stickler, President of Island Enterprises Inc., has proposed an alternative cruise ship terminal that also includes a commercial airline landing strip. He envisions filling in the shallow water area along the Pebbly Beach Road shoreline from Ring Rock eastward to the Edison Plant. Terracing the hillside next to the existing Pebbly Beach Road, with any additional material needed from the quarry, would generate rock for this. This plan has the advantage of creating enough land area to park two or more cruise ships, build a 4,500 ft. long commercial airport runway, and a large, long dockside area for tour buses, taxis, and visitor serving facilities. It also solves the landslide problem that has impaired the use of Pebbly Beach Road for many years.

As part of the landfill, a small marina would be built seaward of the Catalina Freight Lines terminal and the Edison Plant. This would provide space for a new fuel dock, a shipyard and other marina services on a year round basis; and provide protection for the barges to unload in rough weather.

The proposal is similar to the concept of an offshore airport that was studied many years ago. This updated concept now incorporates a new larger cruise ship terminal, a new marina, and existing facilities in the Pebbly Beach area. It enhances the funding because it can take advantage of both Federal airport funding and State Waterways & Boating Dept. funding in addition to rent paid by the cruise ship operators. It also finally opens Avalon to greatly expanded connections to the mainland and the world through fixed wing air service. At the same time, it eliminates the impact and congestion that 4,000 cruise ship passengers would have on the cross channel carriers in the options currently being considered for the Mole.

Mr. Stickler is planning to present his plan to the City Council and community in a series of meetings over the next few weeks. Jeffrey Stickler attended Avalon High School, California Maritime Academy (CMA) and is President and CEO of Island Enterprises, Inc. a tour and transportation company. His companies have operated on Catalina Island for over 36 years.