Greetings, fellow Avilones. The month of May has arrived, and Avila is teeming with businesses, visitors, and others anxious for a return to better times. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this column, I offer a moment of light education pertaining to the use of the terms “Mayday” and “May Day.” They are similar in pronunciation but wildly different in meaning. According to the dictionary, “Mayday” is an internationally recognized distress signal, while “May Day” is a spring holiday and, in some places, a celebration of working people. 

This is just one example of how the English language can be so confusing to foreigners trying to learn it. Words with multiple meanings are called homonyms, and there are so many of those in the English language it can make your head spin. If you care to entertain your mind for a few minutes, just google ‘homonym examples’ and look around. 

Last month I shared with you the news that the previously stolen lifeguard tower mural panel had finally been replaced. But there remained one piece of the puzzle that had yet to be determined, which has now been resolved. Originally, the artwork was a collaborative effort between the Avila Beach Community Foundation, which initiated and arranged for funding of the project, Arts Obispo of SLO County, which facilitated the artist selection process and assumed ownership of the artwork, and Port San Luis Harbor District, which agreed to have the panels installed on their lifeguard towers. 

This was all well and good until early in the 2020 pandemic, when Arts Obispo suffered financial and staffing setbacks that resulted in the agency wanting to relinquish ownership responsibility for the artwork. Without getting into the details, I am pleased to report that, after several discussions between the Foundation and Port San Luis, the Harbor Commission board voted unanimously to accept ownership of the artwork. 

This is a pleasing and positive outcome that ensures the continued enjoyment by Avila Beach public art enthusiasts.

Also, last month, I chimed in about the situation involving the homeless encampment and general conditions up at Cave Landing. I made mention of efforts being launched by the SLO County Parks Department to address the problems, and I now have more information to share, courtesy of an email sent by Concerned Citizens for Avila that reports thusly:

“The County Board of Supervisors has recently approved a plan from the County Parks Department that takes the crucial first step towards fixing Cave Landing. The plan funds a resurfacing of the parking lot, a turn-around for emergency vehicles, and new barriers that protect environmentally and culturally sensitive areas. The plan also calls for budgeting a full-time ranger to permanently patrol the area, which will require approval in the 2021-2022 budget. The Coastal Commission has been clear that for now, the area needs to remain open 24 hours. Importantly, construction will necessitate the removal of encampments in the area and a full clean-up of the site. County Parks has been working closely with the Department of Social Services, Sheriff’s Office, and County Behavioral Health to make sure the site is cleaned up in a safe and effective way while offering a wide variety of supportive services to the current camp occupants. The Parks Department is also in discussions with Coastal Commission staff to hopefully install a temporary gate that can remain closed at night during the course of construction. This project will improve safety, end the current situation, and pave the way towards a long-term solution.”

I will try to keep you up to date as things progress.

Along the line of random observations, I have some “rants” to express. Not surprisingly, we are beginning to see the return of creativity when it comes to people finding free parking spots while visiting the beach. This is an ongoing problem in our residential parts of town, and one that sticks out to me is among the most frustrating and dangerous. 

Not so very long ago, County Public Works installed a right-turn lane at the corner of San Miguel Street and Avila Beach Drive, which made traffic flow at that intersection better and safer. Lo and behold, I have recently seen vehicles parked right at that corner, thus blocking the right-hand turn lane designed to allow for drivers exiting San Miguel Street. Since we cannot rely on good manners and common sense, I believe it is time to paint the curbs red along that corner. There is only room for two vehicles along that curb, so not much of a loss of available parking. 

My second “rant” involves the Avila Beach Golf Resort and the growing number of people who can be regularly seen walking or biking ON THE COURSE! This presents a danger for these intruders who show no fear of golf shots coming their way and who can become belligerent after being informed by us golfers that they have strayed off the Bob Jones Trail. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets plunked by an errant golf ball, or we see physical altercations that result in injury. Golf course management needs to be more proactive and vigilant to better avoid the inevitable.

Last but not least, I am pleased to report the return of the seasonal beach area clean-up project financed by the Foundation and our funding partners Chevron and SLO County District 3 Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg. 

Beginning May 10, you will see a crew from PathPoint several mornings each week working to remove sand and debris from designated sidewalks, gutters, and planters along the beachfront, making the areas safer and cleaner. The project runs through early October. 

That’s it for now, fellow Avilones. See you at the beach!