La Quinta Nixes Surf Resort Amid Drought
The 386-acre Coral Mountain Project was billed as a surfing oasis smack dab in the middle of the Coachella Valley desert.
“This thoughtfully designed neighborhood will serve as a retreat for its residents and visitors to enjoy luxury homes and built-in recreational opportunities anchored by a surfable wave basin,” boasts the website.
The developer had planned on constructing hundreds of new resort homes around a surfable lagoon in La Quinta. The basin would use technology from Kelly Slater Wave Co., which can produce artificial waves up to 6 feet high.
The project was almost immediately slammed by activists and some residents. The lagoon would have required 18 million gallons of water — an awfully large amount given the state’s 23-year megadrought.
“We’re at a point in history where we cannot be freely wasteful of water,” one resident, Laura Dolata, told the City Council. “When the water crisis reaches a critical point and water must be curtailed dramatically, and rationing becomes a reality, an operating wave park will be a problem for all of us.”
Last Wednesday, city leaders agreed. All five members voted to reject a zoning change that was necessary to bring the resort to fruition, effectively killing the project.
The developer had offered to invest in water conservation efforts to offset its large water footprint. That wasn’t enough. Some council members expressed concerns about light and noise pollution as well.
“I think this is a cool project,” said Mayor Linda Evans. “But I don’t think it’s in the right location. And maybe the timing isn’t great because of the drought.”
Surfers will have to stick to the oceans for now, or a similar surf park in Lemoore.