Six years after the project was approved by the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC), new sluice gates are in operation on the Venice canals. The gates regulate the flow of sea water into and out of the canals. On April 22, 2004, the GRVNC Board, including this reporter, unanimously approved “$560,000 expenditure for repair, replacement, and maintenance of (the) gates.”
The funds were to come out of the Venice Surplus Property Fund, which is funded by the sale of real estate that belonged to the city of Los Angeles or the city of Venice. The funds can only be spent in Venice. Some of the funds were recently spent to pave the parking lots behind the Abbot Kinney merchants. Canal resident Darryl DuFay says that the project was finally accomplished when Councilmember Bill Rosendahl obtained “emergency funding.”
However, Nate Kaplan, press aide to Rosendahl, confirmed that the funds came out of the Surplus Property Fund. Rosendahl told the Beachhead that the city bureaucracy (public works department) dropped the ball. But, in a June 13, 2006 press release announcing the repair of the gates, Rosendahl stated “This swift repair would not be possible without the collaboration of community leaders and City staff.” He continued, “I would like to thank the Venice Canals Association and my Venice Field Deputy, Mark Antonio Grant, for the hard work and commitment shown on this project.”
Although this might seem like the end of the story, it wasn’t. Even though the gates were repaired in 2006, work proceeded on replacing them with new gates. The new gates are supposed to last for 20 years, however, the old gates were replaced after 17 years.