Newport Beach City Manager Update: Lifeguard 100th Anniversary, Labor Day

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Grace Leung

On this Labor Day weekend, which marks the official end of the summer season, I thought it would be fitting to recognize the men and women who help ensure the safety of residents and visitors on our beaches: our City lifeguard team.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Newport Beach lifeguards, marking a century of commitment to the safety and well-being of our community.

The team was formed from humble beginnings in 1923, when a small group of water enthusiasts took on the responsibility of safeguarding our shores. Today we have a world-class, highly-trained team of professionals whose dedication has saved countless lives.

Consider these statistics from the summer 2023 peak season (June 10 through this week):

  • Lifeguards performed 27,306 preventive actions, warning swimmers about dangerous ocean conditions or unsafe behaviors.
  • 1,152 ocean rescues were made.
  • First aid was administered 858 times.
  • Medial aid, assistance at a higher level than first aid, was administered 146 times.
  • 323 stingray wounds were treated.
  • Other types of public assistance were provided 975 times.
  • Boaters were assisted 158 times.

In all, over the course of the summer, their work amounted to nearly 30,000 contacts with the public.

As we all know, our lifeguards are more than rescuers. They are community ambassadors, role models, and educators. Through ocean safety programs – most notably the Junior Lifeguard Program — they have empowered generations with the knowledge and skills needed to enjoy the ocean responsibly. This summer, 1,419 young people were able to experience the Junior Lifeguard Program.

Thank you to all our City lifeguards, including the management team led by Fire Chief Jeff Boyles and Chief Lifeguard Brian O’Rourke, as well as the many seasonal lifeguards who are critical to the success of our beach safety efforts.

Labor Day Trash Collection and Street Sweeping Information

Newport Beach City Hall and most City facilities will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 4.

There will be no street sweeping and no trash or recycling collection on Monday.

Please note that refuse and recycling collection services will shift forward by one day for the entire week, starting Tuesday, September 5 through Sunday, September 10.

Harbor Dept. Deploys State-of-the-Art, Real-Time Water Quality Monitors

Newport Beach, known for its pristine beaches and picturesque harbors, has long been committed to preserving its natural resources. To further increase the City’s ability to monitor and maintain water quality in Newport Harbor, the City’s Harbor Department recently deployed two state-of-the-art water quality sensing buoys, or DataPods, in the harbor.

The water quality sensing buoys, developed by Clean Earth Rovers, are equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows for real-time monitoring of water quality data essential for maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

The DataPod buoys are equipped with advanced sensors that can detect and report changes in water quality in real-time, ensuring accurate and reliable data collection. The gathered data is transmitted via cellular signal to a central computer system monitored by the Harbor Department.

With the ability to continuously monitor and collect data on key water quality metrics such as temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and pH levels, City staff can address any issues more quickly and effectively.

Water quality in Newport Harbor is of paramount importance, both for recreation and the health of marine life. This data-driven approach will significantly enhance the City’s ability to maintain and improve Newport Harbor’s water quality.

Draft Housing Element Implementation Plans Available for Public Review

The City is seeking public input on draft documents related to implementation of the General Plan Housing Element, which will guide residential development in Newport Beach through 2029.

Residents are invited to provide comments and feedback by September 29 on draft Land Use Element revisions, draft Housing Opportunity Overlay Zoning Districts, and draft Objective Design Standards, available online here: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/community-development/planning-division/general-plan-codes-and-regulations/general-plan-update/6th-cycle-housing-element-implementation.

Written comments can be submitted to [email protected].  In addition, members of the community are invited to learn more and provide input at a study session with the City’s Planning Commission on September 21.

These efforts are required by state law as part of a larger effort to meet state and regional housing goals.

In September 2022, the Newport Beach City Council adopted the General Plan 6th Cycle Housing Element. The Housing Element was certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in October 2022. The Housing Element includes a strategy for the City to meet a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation of 4,845 new housing units with varying affordability levels.

Under state law, by 2025 the City must implement the planning strategy by updating the General Plan Land Use Element and providing appropriate zoning that will allow for the land identified in the Housing Element to be developed with housing units.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week, the Be Well team:

  • Transported two people to an emergency shelter ahead of Tropical Storm Hilary.
  • Transported two people to the sobering station at the Be Well campus.
  • Transported a person home after resolving a mental health crisis.

To reach Be Well: The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (949) 644-3717.

Homelessness Update

This week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Transported two people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for intake appointments.
  • Met with a client and staff from Volunteers of America to locate housing for a client with a housing voucher.
  • Met with a client awarded a housing voucher and applied to apartment units.
  • Continued to shelter people. Eighteen people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the City’s homeless response: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/monthly-homeless-count.

Click here for information on the City’s Good Giving program: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.

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