Harbor Encourages 4th of July Visitors to Throw Away Trash

Closeup of a discarded American flag and other 4th of July trash

Harbor 4th of July visitors will have a variety of options to make sure they can throw away their trash during the event and before they leave. Measures are being implemented by the Ventura County Harbor Department’s maintenance team to help minimize waste being left behind after the annual 4th of July event, Fireworks by…

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Director’s Message: 4th of July, Harbor Academy, Planning & Development Update

Wide view of the harbour, a large American flag flapping in the foreground

Happy Birthday America!!  I thought I would be writing about the sunny and warm Channel Islands Harbor and Oxnard Beaches this month, but the sun has yet to show its face.  The 4th of July is next week, and I am confident we will see sunny days before then.

The 4th of July always provides a wonderful experience on the waterfront.  In my opinion, there is no better place to be on our country’s birthday than the waterfront.  Boat owners, marine businesses and waterfront residents always celebrate the 4th in style, and it is very heartwarming to see the boats and waterfront decorated in red, white and blue, and to get out on the 4th and enjoy all of the waterfront activities.

Here in the Channel Islands Harbor, we have a full day of activities, starting with a 5K run/walk then a celebratory parade on Harbor Boulevard.  The Farmer’s Market will be open and better than ever as it celebrates this patriotic day, and don’t miss the electric boat parade in the Harbor, which begins at 4:30 p.m.  And, of course, the capstone for the day, the fireworks show which will light up the Harbor beginning at 9 p.m.

I started in mid-July last year, so this will be my first.  I am very excited to join the nation’s birthday celebration at the Channel Islands Harbor, and hope you do to.  Remember, let’s celebrate, but celebrate safely.

Harbor Academy, Rounds 4 and 5

Since our last newsletter, we have held the final two Harbor Academy sessions.  The fourth was a presentation and frank discussion regarding the Channel Islands Boating Center (CIBC).  It was held at the Boating Center, complete with wonderful finger food and drinks provided by the caterer who works with the CIBC.  I appreciate the feedback we received from the attendees, and we have discussed some additional program ideas and communication strategies with the CIBC leadership.

The fifth Harbor Academy workshop covered the department’s marketing and promotion efforts.  It was hosted at and by the Maritime Museum, who did a wonderful job (thanks!) and was presented by the Harbor PIO, Jed Chernabaeff.    Jed has done a wonderful job with our promotion and marketing since he joined the team in January 2017.  We have launched an award-winning website, and have created and increased our social media presence significantly.  The challenge we face is that we could use a better product to market, which comes down to completing the three prominent re-developments in the Harbor – the Hyatt Hotel development, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Fresco’s on the Harbor Restaurant.  While this development is painstakingly slow, once we have these areas developed, we will have the best Harbor in the State to promote and market.

I would like to recognize and thank all who attended the Harbor Academy, particularly those who attended all five sessions.  It was a great experience for me and my staff to put these together and take them to the public, and I hope they were enlightening and educational for all of you who are passionate about the Harbor.

Harbor Department at the Farmer’s Market

Beginning this Sunday, we will have a booth at the Harbor Farmer’s Market.  We hope to do this throughout the summer, and I will be there most Sundays, except for those where I am out of town.  There is no agenda or covert reason for doing this, other than to promote the Harbor and answer any questions or discuss ideas the public might have.  I look at this like an informal extension of the Harbor Academy.

Planning and Development in the Harbor

We have been moving steadily on the key projects in the Harbor.  The lease for the Fresco’s on the Harbor Restaurant should go to the Board of Supervisors on July 23.  Once the lease is executed, the owners will begin pulling permits and get the interior demolition and rebuild underway.

The Peninsula Projects are moving forward as well.  The attorneys for the Hotel, Marina and County are still working on the leases and agreements, which should go to the Board of Supervisors in August or September, in time for the demolition to begin in October.

Fisherman’s Wharf is moving slowly through the City of Oxnard process.  We believed it would be to the Planning Commission on July 18, but I was told June 27th  that the item will not make that agenda, and will likely be backed up until August 15, 2019.

As always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor’s Note: this message was published June 28, 2019.

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H20 BUS Hits the Waters at Channel Islands Harbor

Meet the H2O bus, a refurbed electric boat that looks like a turquoise 1967 Volkswagen Kombi Van

There’s a turquoise 1967 Volkswagen 19 window Kombi Van cruising around in the waters of the Channel Islands Harbor and people are taking notice. It’s hard to miss. It’s not exactly the real thing, but a renovated 1996 Duffy Cat 16 Electric Boat that has a distinct look, amazing detail, and some cool features. Features…

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Director’s Message: Fireworks by the Sea to Move Forward

4th of July fireworks

Last month I wrote that the weather was heating up and it was exciting to know that summer was just around the corner.  Unfortunately, summer has decided to not show itself as of yet.  The week of Memorial Day there were actually hail storms in the County, and it rained over Memorial Weekend.  I am so ready for the summer!

The hot topic of the month is the July 4th Fireworks Show at the Harbor (pun intended).  The July 4th Fireworks by the Sea is a very popular, longstanding event in the Harbor.  In the recent past, the County Harbor Department and the City of Oxnard would essentially split the costs.  The Harbor Department supplied the on-water security and the maintenance and clean-up for the event, and the City supplied Police services for the on-land traffic and crowd control.  The cost of the fireworks show itself is split 50/50.  Together, both agencies contribute about $90,000 for the event.

Unfortunately, the City of Oxnard is in the middle of a significant budget problem, and a recommended cut to balance the budget is the elimination of the Police resources to staff the fireworks show ($29,000) and the 50% share for the fireworks show itself ($12,500).  Fortunately, a “call to action” went out and a group of supporters, led by the Channel Islands Harbor Lessee Association, raised the funds to pay for the Police costs.  While we have our own financial struggles, I was not about to let the show die for want of $12,500 for the fireworks show, so the Harbor Department will pay the entire $25,000 cost for the fireworks, and the show will go on.

Harbor Academy, Round 3

We held the second installment of the Harbor Academy in May.  The topics of this installment were a discussion regarding Harbor Patrol and Harbor Maintenance.  It was held at the Channel Islands Yacht Club (thanks CIYC) and was fairly well attended, but not as crowded as the first two installments. You can watch this workshop on YouTube by clicking on this link.

The Harbor Patrol division is highly regarded and appreciated throughout the Harbor.  It is an extremely dedicated and talented team which is highly trained in vessel operation and maintenance, fire fighting support and emergency medical aid, and I was pleased to present all the public benefits provided by these dedicated staff.

The maintenance staff in the Harbor is in my opinion the most impressive division we have in the Department.  It’s a small team who handles everything maintenance related for the Harbor.  They rebuild docks and wharfs, they install and repair electrical systems, they handle concrete work, tree trimming and landscaping around the Harbor.  They handle all components of building maintenance, from framing and painting to plumbing and metal fabrication.  They handle a variety of large equipment, including tractors and a surf rake to groom the beaches.  I am constantly astonished by what this small team can accomplish, and believe the Harbor Department has the best maintenance crew anywhere.

I did cover one very important topic at this presentation which was the unresolved issue regarding Harbor Patrol services in the Oxnard Waterways section of the Harbor.  The background of this issue is that the Harbor Department has historically provided Harbor Patrol services to Mandalay Bay, Harbour Island, Westport and Seabridge.  However,  there was an inherent inequity because Seabridge was paying much more per residence than the other neighborhoods in the Oxnard Waterways, yet Mandalay Bay and Harbour Island were paying nothing for the service.  Seabridge ultimately used a voter initiative to reduce payment for the services, which reduced the payment to the Harbor Department to a level where we could no longer provide the service.

We have provided a proposal to the City and the neighborhoods to continue the services, but that proposal has yet to be accepted, and therefore Harbor Patrol services in the Oxnard Waterways will cease at the end of the year unless an agreement can be reached.  For perspective, we billed about $1 million for the services in the current year, the total cost to provide the service is about $1.4 million a year, and we have proposed an agreement whereby we would provide the service for $1.2 million a year.  We may be able to reduce our offer under certain conditions, but it would require that all residents north of the Channel Islands Bridge participate or that the City subsidize the costs for its waterways.

The next Harbor Academy workshop is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at the Channel Islands Boating Center, located at 3880 Bluefin Circle Drive. At the workshop, attendees can learn more about the Boating Center and the recreational and educational opportunities it provides. Click on this link to register for the event.

Planning and Development in the Harbor

We spent the month moving the projects forward, meeting with the City Planning Department regarding Fisherman’s Wharf, pushing the Hotel developers to stay on track for an October demolition start and working with Fresco’s to get that deal finalized.  Looking for good things before the end of the year.

As always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor’s Note: this article was originally published on June 3, 2019.

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Celebrate Father’s Day at the Channel Islands Harbor

A mint Plymouth Roadrunner with its hood popped at the CIH Father's Day car show

Editor’s Note: this story was published in June 2019 and covers events for 2019. Dad has done a lot for you. You should do something for Dad. Take Dad to the Channel Islands Harbor for Father’s Day this weekend. Check out the wide array of activities you can do with Dad. You’re welcome. Car Shows…

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