New pier contemplated for Ski Run Marina |

New pier contemplated for Ski Run Marina

Susan Wood

The Ski Run Marina Village manager wants to build a new, multimillion-dollar pier, but it would require navigating a few obstacles.

Michael Phillips, in a letter to the city of South Lake Tahoe, said the project would provide public access and serve as a base for waterborne transit. Hornblower Cruises, which is already based at Ski Run Marina, recently purchased a new shuttle boat which it intends to use for lake transit between the south and north shores.

Phillips confirmed his interest Tuesday but declined to give further details. City Manager Dave Childs said it’s too soon to talk about the proposal until a solid plan is in place.

In the letter, Phillips proposed the city own the pier and act as a liaison to secure funding with the California Tahoe Conservancy. He estimated the pier would cost about $3 million, the letter added.

Conservancy guidelines mandate funding only for public projects. It can’t use state money to augment a private enterprise.

“Regional, significant public access is what we’re after,” said Ray Lacey, CTC recreation program coordinator.

For example, the Conservancy expects to wrap up a feasibility study this summer on a pier project at Kings Beach, which is open to the public. A decision to fund the project may come as early as December.

“I can tell you our board is very interested in waterborne transit,” Lacey said.

So is Hornblower Cruises, which operates the Tahoe Queen out of the Ski Run Marina and hopes to win permission to run its newly acquired Meteor as a second passenger vessel.

“Absolutely, we’d be supportive of any type of pier project. It’s always been the ongoing mission of this marina to have a public access pier,” Hornblower General Manager Carol Chaplin said Tuesday.

“We’d love to see a pier sooner than later,” Chaplin said. With the water level so low, Chaplin fears more dry seasons may force the dredging of the lake to deepen the waterways.

The pier project would require approval from city and state agencies, along with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

TRPA spokeswoman Pam Drum said the proposal would have to be evaluated on factors including fish habitat, boat safety and scenic quality. Parking in the area is limited.

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