It was great to see so many faces at the London Nelson Community Center on Tuesday evening.
The City put on a fun and engaging session. Matt Starkey, dressed as Dr. Emmett Brown from Back to the Future, put us in his DeLorean Time Machine and time traveled to us to 2073 to view four different future scenarios for West Cliff.
The opening kickoff, led by Laura Schmidt, set the tone for the evening of fun and lightheartedness, which provided a perfect backdrop for all of us to engage in the important work of reviewing future scenarios and giving feedback.
The four scenarios are outlined on page 2 of this PDF
- Hold the Line – Protection of infrastructure and access through seawalls.
- Natural Feature Restoration – Restoration of natural features (points & offshore reefs) to capture sand and move wave energy away from the cliff.
- Hybrid – Implementation of nature-based solutions and hybrid infrastructure to limit hard armoring.
- Park – Focus on a park approach with buyouts of private property, removal of West Cliff Drive, and restoration of natural habitats.
The four groups spent 20 minutes in separate rooms reviewing and discussing each scenario after receiving a short briefing from staff. Expansive 8’ x 4’ visuals depicting each future vision, along with zoomed-in images of sections of the map. They were accompanied by a collage of images showing examples of cliff armoring, sand management, transportation options, artificial reefs, vegetation, and more. On the worktables lay large maps showing possible traffic configurations for each scenario. These aids to the discussion were very powerful and helped us imagine what it might look and feel like.
Questions about each scenario were answered by staff and each table discussed the pros and cons of the vision. We wrote comments on Post-it notes and stuck them to the wall. We often saw 50 or more sticky notes plastered across the room.
Each group rotated through all 4 rooms, experiencing each different vision over a period of 80 minutes.
At the end of the evening, everyone returned to the main room, where Laura Schmidt did one final “jump” back to 2023, and we voted via Mentimeter. The Hybrid and Natural Feature restoration scenarios were the clear winners.
As a group, we took a step forward on Tuesday. We suspended disbelief over what regulators might allow, sources of funding, local traffic impacts, and our own personal desires. It wasn’t always easy, but in the end, we allowed ourselves to take a glimpse at these four different futures for our beloved and iconic West Cliff. None are perfect, and there are many unknowns, but some combination might be a future we can all compromise around.
For those who were unable to attend and would like to have a voice in the conversation, the City has provided this link to a survey with videos describing the four scenarios and the opportunity to give feedback on what you like and dislike about each scenario. Please take a moment to view the scenarios and provide feedback.
We want to thank the City staff for dedicating their time and energy to this event!
Have a great weekend!