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Avila pier closed indefinitely 

Sorry kids, fishermen, whale gawkers, and Avila Beach aficionados—the Avila Beach pier will be closed for the summer.

Following concerns about the pier’s highly questionable structural integrity, Port San Luis Harbor District General Manager Steve McGrath made an executive decision to close the pier on June 19. That decision was followed by a June 23 vote of the Harbor Commission to keep the pier closed while the district completes an ongoing structural evaluation.

“In an abundance of caution, we decided to close the pier until we have completed the underwater inspection and developed a plan for rehabilitation,” McGrath said.

Morro Bay-based Shoreline Engineering is conducting the evaluation and should be completing it in the coming months now that the Harbor Commission approved funding for the remaining phase of inspection.

In the meantime, the district’s taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach.

“There are portions of the pier that are not suitable for public access,” said Bruce Elster of Shoreline Engineering at the June 23 meeting.

McGrath said that he and Elster were already considering the pier’s closure as summer began. In recent weeks, frequent humpback whale sightings drew crowds of people to the end of pier for a closer look. That made McGrath nervous and became an added consideration to the mix of factors that led to his decision.

“It’s important to recognize that for quite a long time now, during certain conditions we close the pier and have been doing that for many, many years,” McGrath said.

He added that the pier will be closed during the remainder of the structural evaluation, which will take 60 to 90 days, and may be closed for longer.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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