By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
Weathered, crumbling and nearly toppled over, the once decorative wooden ship mast positioned near the southern terminus of the Gladstones/beach parking lot has gone from community eyesore to public safety hazard.
Erected sometime in the late ’60s to early ’70s as a monument indicator of the old entry point into the beach parking lot, the mast is now on the verge of collapse after decades of erosion and neglect have left the structure in bad standing.
Pacific Palisades Community Council representative Peter Culhane and Palisades Highlands Presidents Council Chair David Dwyer are advocating for the structure’s immediate removal before it becomes a larger danger to the community, potentially damaging vehicles parked nearby or worse, falling on an unsuspecting passerby.
“The mast no longer serves any purpose,” Culhane told the Palisadian-Post. “It’s been sitting there unattended for years and has basically been reduced to litter on the side of the road.”
In its former glory, the mast’s creosote beams were used as frames to hang colorful flags and other signage, a styling that was consistent with themes commonly used in California coastal areas.
Now shared between Gladstones and LA County Beaches and Harbors, the lot has since been renovated so that its entrance sits adjacent to the traffic light at Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard.
And because the mast is no longer positioned directly in the parking lot, but instead in the right-of-way of PCH, questions surrounding who is responsible for removing the deteriorating structure remain unanswered as the task is tossed between various local and state agencies.
On July 12, Culhane brought the issue to Beaches and Harbors Real Property Agent Natasha Robinson.
During their documented correspondence, Robinson said that the agency’s preliminary research could not determine responsibility for the structure, but agreed to open an investigation to begin on July 17.
The community’s concerns were then passed on to the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
“Since the end of July 2017, Caltrans has been investigating whether there is any approval for the structure to be there,” Robinson wrote in an Aug. 30 email to Culhane and Dwyer. “Caltrans informed us that nobody should remove it until Caltrans has completed its investigation.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Lisa Cahill, area field deputy at-large for 11th District Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office, submitted three follow up letters to representatives at Beaches and Harbors, LADOT and the California State Assembly.
Those inquiries have yet to be returned.
Meanwhile the Palisades’ mast—along with Culhane and Dwyer—grows a little more weary with each passing day.
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