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JULY 2020 REPORT FROM CAMBRIA CSD BOARD PRESIDENT HARRY FARMER

Needless to say, one of the most important concerns the citizens of Cambria have had for many a year is the availability of water, especially having a dependable source in the summer months and prior to the beginning of our usual rainfall later in the year.

On June 25th the Cambria CSD held a Special Board meeting to discuss the draft Coastal Development Permit for the District’s Water Facility on San Simeon Creek Road known by various names such as the Emergency Water Supply Project (EWS), the Advanced Water Treatment Plant (AWTP), and the more familiar Sustainable Water Facility (SWF). At one point over 40 people were attending the on line Zoom Meeting, certainly the largest turnout for a District Board meeting in many months. Over three dozen public comments were read, either emails submitted to our very capable Deputy District Clerk Haley Dodson, or by members of the community themselves. Most folks expressed support for the Facility, feeling that the plant will provide water security, especially in drought years. Other supporters were also favorable in that growth, meaning that more houses could be built, would finally take place once the Facility would be approved for operation.  Opposition to using the Plant other than in serious drought emergency, which is what the Facility was initially permitted for, was based on environmental concerns, as well as the cost of operating the Plant.  After public comment and limited Board discussion, the CDP has now moved forward to the County Planning Department for their consideration and possible approval. At some point in the near future the CDP application will return to the CCSD Board of Directors for further discussion.

To elaborate a bit more, including clearing up any misunderstandings, it should be understood that the Facility, built in 2014, has yet to provide water of any consequence to our town during the past six years despite ongoing costs of many millions of dollars. Meanwhile, over the years, and at present, various local, State and Federal Agencies continue to express concern over the impact the Plant will have on the natural environment. This is due to the fact that the Plant is in a 92 acre Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), not to mention the extreme amounts of brine waste produced when the plant operates that will need to be trucked elsewhere, creating further pollution and harm to the environment in the process.  

Also, water produced by the Plant, combining treated wastewater with water from the natural environment, will be extremely expensive, likely up to three times the amount normally incurred by the ratepayers of our community.

Perhaps the most efficient and effective way to address the water needs of our town is through ongoing water conservation, including water collection and storage, and water use and reuse at our homes. Repair and upgrade of the District's Water Infrastructure, including water tanks and the piping in our water delivery system, will hopefully also continue to be how we approach this situation in the future.

We have been fortunate in the past that, when we’ve had serious water challenges, the citizens of our community have always stepped up and cut back on their water usage. Many Cambrian’s continue to cultivate productive habits begun in years gone by. One would hope the more recent arrivals to our town would be equally concerned in the area of water conservation.

Another issue in our town that has recently become more visible are the protests and actions that have taken place in the past couple of weeks at the former location of our community Skate Park.  Many folks of all ages are expressing their disappointment that not only does the Park no longer exist, but that it was apparently torn down with little consideration for the needs of the youth in town. In addition, people are equally upset that it appears no effort is being made to replace and rebuild the Park, either at its former location across from the Veteran’s Hall, or perhaps on the East Ranch off of Rodeo Grounds Road.

While there is more information than can be put in this column that would clarify this issue further, hopefully folks understand that it was because of the deterioration of the Park, and therefore the potential danger to those using it, meaning mainly the youth of our town as well as those visiting from elsewhere, that the Skate Park was removed. Many folks have expressed disappointment that a greater effort wasn’t made to maintain and improve the Park in recent years, a legitimate expression of frustration to be sure. Yet we are now at a point as to how to move forward to meet the needs of the young citizens in our town. 

Parents and other adults have come forward to both generate support and raise funds for a new Skate Park.  For those of you who are in favor of a new park, or perhaps are not, go by the old Skate Park location across from the Veteran’s Hall on Fridays from 1-5 PM to offer your opinions and support, as well as make a donation.  In addition, you can let your voice be heard at the regular Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Commission meeting every first Tuesday of the month.  Meetings begin at 10 AM.  You can also speak out in public comment at regular CCSD Board Meetings every second and third Thursday’s.  Meetings begin at 2 PM.

In some ways this following item is old news meant to be in the June President’s Report that was unable to take place. But I feel it’s important to acknowledge that on late Monday afternoon of June 8th, nearly 200 Cambria residents of all ages, incomes and backgrounds, including mothers with their children, came together in a peaceful manner to address the issue of racism in our country, just like what was happening in thousands of cities across our nation. Most everyone brought a homemade sign expressing their individual feelings on this issue. First we had a one-hour gathering at Main St and Cambria Drive, followed by a march to and from Main St and Windsor Blvd. During this time most everyone that drove by either honked their horn or waved to show support for the demonstration and what it stood for. This experience was truly a heartwarming display of togetherness in our community.

Hope everyone is doing as well as possible during this wonderful weather we’re having.  Let’s count our blessings we live in such a special place, and that we can call Cambria home. Finally, during these ongoing challenging and unsettled times, take care, be safe, wear a mask, and be kind and considerate of others.

Sincerely,

Harry Farmer

President

Board of Directors