Despite the struggling economy, there’s lot of excitement these days at the San Mateo County Harbor District’s two public harbors, located at near Half Moon Bay and at in South San Francisco.
In early 2012, we’re looking forward to a new Oyster Point Marina ferry service operated by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority that will connect the northern peninsula to the East Bay. This ferry service is funded by a combination of voter-approved State Proposition 1B funds, Regional Measure 2 bridge tolls, federal money, and San Mateo County Measure A funds. Ferry users will be able to travel to and from South San Francisco and Oakland’s Jack London Square, while reducing congestion on our freeways and enjoying a stress-free commute across the scenic San Francisco Bay.
Oyster Point Marina will also play a major role in the upcoming America’s Cup yacht races, which will be held in San Francisco in 2013. With recent approval of an amendment to the Harbor District/South San Francisco Joint Powers Agreement, infrastructure improvements which include dock restoration will enhance the experience of mariners and visitors at Oyster Point. America’s Cup is the premiere international boating race that could have as much as a $1.4 billion regional economic impact. We can expect increased tourism, which will generate greater interest in our bayside activities.
While leisure boating activities dominate Oyster Point, commercial fishing reigns supreme at our other public harbor in Pillar Point just north of Half Moon Bay. Pillar Point is where visitors can buy , and other bounty of the sea from , and . The harbor’s centerpiece for is its modern launch ramp and an active fleet of . and can be observed as they migrate along the coast. Also, tourists from all over the globe visit Pillar Point to view the world-famous which occurs between December and February each year. When was the last time you enjoyed these activities?
Five elected govern the San Mateo County Harbor District, whose responsibility is to oversee the management and vision for the two public harbors. These days, the commission has been on the unprecedented of requests to hold at the harbor, repairing aging infrastructure, and continuing to ensure marine safety.
This delicate balancing act requires careful consideration between the desires of visitors, the fishermen, leisure boaters, local businesses, regulatory agencies and the local community. At the same time, like everyone else, the Harbor District must navigate through challenging economic conditions.
The good news is that while many other special districts and government agencies are looking to reduce services and threaten layoffs, the Harbor District has no intention of doing either. In fact, the District has steadily reduced its development debt to the state by half, from well over $19 million to just under $9 million by the end of this year.
The District continues to reach out to the local community by holding community meetings to foster dialogue and obtain feedback on future plans and a vision that will enhance your harbor experience while preserving its natural beauty. Please consider attending one of our meetings, as we would greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions.
We encourage all San Mateo County residents to enjoy their public harbors and support them in the same way that they support their local library or city park. We are YOUR Harbor District and we look forward to seeing you soon at our facilities. Our harbors are your connection to quality seafood, transportation, recreation, and the gateway to a dynamic ocean and bay ecosystem.