L.A. County Board to discuss changes to beach summer camp selection process

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will vote at its regular meeting Tuesday on a proposal to alter the permit renewal process for summer recreation camps and physical fitness training at county beaches by changing it to a financial bidding process with higher fees. Numerous local summer camps, such as the Malibu Makos surf camp, would be affected. The Department of Beaches and Harbors says that the changes are necessary because the current Beach and Harbor Use Permit Policy, passed in 1984, is outdated. Additionally, the proposal states that the change would allow for a fair selection process of camp operators and bring in increased revenue to be used for beach and marina operation and maintenance. Opponents say that the change would undermine the safety of Malibu’s surf schools and camps, as well as their stability or ability to operate. Additionally, some opponents worry about the increased commercialization of beaches.

If passed, awarding summer licenses for camps will be based on a number of new criteria. First, a bidding process for applicants vying for a desired location would be implemented. Applications would also be considered based on financial capability, or the ability of the applicant to demonstrate the financial responsibility of a multi-year license. The board would also factor in the success of applicants in managing similar operations in the past. The changed policy would also require applicants to submit an emergency response plan and employ staff certified in safety training. Applicants would also be judged on the amount of scholarships or reduced fees given to inner-city or low-income youth participants, and would be required to submit a written proposal addressing the elements of the selection process.

In a letter to the Board of Supervisors, county Beaches and Harbors staff stated that safety standards and previous experience running the camps would be weighed most heavily when considering applications.

The proposal previously went before the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, but the commission did not approve it. Four of the eight commissioners reportedly wanted to adopt the new policy after making a few changes, while four voted against it.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regular meeting and public hearing will take place Tuesday, at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W Temple St., in Los Angeles, in Board Hearing Room 381B, at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be televised Wednesday at 10 p.m. on KLCS.

For more information about the meeting, or to view the agenda, visit www.bos.co.la.ca.us.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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