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Critical Coastal Area 29

Item # W.16.a Wednesday, August 8, 2012 Chair Mary Shallenberger and Members of the Coastal Commission 45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000 San Francisco, CA 94105 Re: Appeal No. A-2-SMC-11-021 (Big Wave) Dear Chair Shallenberger and Members of the Commission, On behalf of Critical Coastal Area 29, I write in strong support of the Staff Recommendation for Denial. The proposed project does not comply with LCP policies regarding: locating and planning new development, hazards, public works, sensitive habitats and biological resources, visual and agricultural resources, and public access and recreation, as well as Coastal Act Public Access requirements. The Wellness Center residential component of the Big Wave project is a well-intentioned idea, in the wrong location. Last year we witnessed a disaster unfold in Japan that was beyond our imagination. On Friday, March 11, 2011 a massive 8.9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed thousands and devastated coastal cities and villages, transforming them into debris piles. We have seen the images in the media of seawalls and breakwaters being overpowered by the tsunami in Japan. As a result of that tsunami the Crescent City fishing fleet was wiped-out. Recent damage estimates at Santa Cruz Harbor put the cost of in-progress dock repairs at $17 million, and the damage to boats bring the total cost of the disaster well over $20 million. In 2010 the seawall at Pillar Point, near the proposed project site, was over-topped during the Mavericks surf contest, injuring spectators. Today, society has a deeper understanding of the level of risk posed by tsunamis and planning decisions must take this broader understanding into consideration. When a tsunami pushes a wave of boats, cars, and buildings against a structure significant damage and failure occur. In April 1946 the tsunami that hit Hawaii had a fifteen-minute interval between wave fronts. The natural resonant period of Hilo Bay is about thirty minutes. That meant that every second wave was in phase with the motion of Hilo Bay, creating a seiche wave in the bay. As a result, Hilo suffered worse

damage than any other place in Hawaii, with the tsunami/seiche reaching a height of 26 feet along the Hilo Bayfront, killing 96 people in the city alone. Seiche waves may continue for several days after a tsunami. The same tsunami hit Princeton and the wave height reached the top of Romeo Pier. The Big Wave developers have stated that the probability of a tsunami affecting the Wellness Center is approximately once in 10,000 years, which is a risk they are prepared to take. They are wrong. In fact, the Big Wave project Draft ERI itself references reliable reports of significant tsunami damage in Princeton on April 1946, May 1960, and March 1964. As you may have read in news articles surrounding the tsunami in Japan, the Cascadia subduction zone off the west coast of the United States is capable of producing a massive quake and tsunami that would rival Japan. Recent findings conclude that the Cascadia Subduction zone is more complex and volatile than previously believed. Geologists predict a 37 percent chance of a M8.2+ event in the next 50 years, and a 10 to 15 percent chance that the entire Cascadia Subduction will rupture with a M9+ event within the same time frame. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1700_Cascadia_earthquake#cite_ref-0

The southern end of the Cascadia Fault is approximately 370 miles NW (130 Degrees) of the proposed Big Wave project location. At an average speed of 500 mph, there would be approximately 44 minutes of warning, assuming that the source and threat are immediately identified. Then there are the logistics and associated chaos of evacuating a large number of people, immediatelywhich as we experienced in 2011 on Highway 92, is not an orderly process, even when you have more than five hours of advance notice. After witnessing so much loss of human life, suffering, and homelessness in Japan, it would be a mistake to approve the construction of new housing for special needs people within the tsunami inundation zone. The risks posed by the inappropriate project site far outweigh the benefits for residents of the Wellness Center. Developmentally disadvantaged people deserve better. Please initiate actions to prohibit future construction of housing, schools and care facilities in tsunami inundation areas. Thank you, Sabrina Brennan