City can close Children's Pool during pupping season - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City can close Children's Pool during pupping season

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - There are new developments in the ongoing fight over access to the Children's Pool in La Jolla.

The City of San Diego was ordered to keep the pool open for pupping season this year, but that changed late Thursday afternoon.

An appeals court approved the city's request for a temporary stay meaning they can now close the pool until December 28 at which point a final ruling will be made. However, there is no word yet on when barriers will be put up.

For a five month period between December 15 and May 15, pupping season at the Children's Pool in La Jolla has always drawn big crowds. 

Since 2014, visitors have only been able to watch the seals and their pups from afar thanks to a ruling from the city. This year, however, that decision has been reversed after an Orange County judge determined closing the beach is against state and federal law.
Bob Ewing is a member of a group called Friends of the Children's Pool, and he says he's all for the beach being open. And while there is a rope up reminding the public to keep a safe distance, he says even that should be gone too.     

"I'd like this rope to get away because it looks like a barrier on the beach from above,” said Ewing.

However, not everyone agrees.

"I think we should all be up here. It's what I think. What’s the point, we have zooms on our smart phones,” said Linda Pau who is against the pool being open.

The issue has sparked controversy for years. But legally speaking, who's right?
"This was an illegal decision and the court of appeal is going to correct it,” said environmental attorney Bryan Pease.

Pease says the city's ruling was approved by the Coastal Commission and is consistent with federal law.

Not only has the city filed a motion to get the Orange County judge's decision dismissed, but Pease has also filed a federal case of his own seeking a temporary restraining order.

"The National Marine Fishery Service has said that it helps prevent violations of the marine protection act to close during the pupping season,” said Pease.

For now, the beach will remain open with the rope and warning signs still in place. Though Pease believes it will only stay this way for a few more weeks.

It is illegal to harass seals. A ranger is assigned to the Children's Pool all year to ensure that doesn't happen.


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