New lifeguard tower at La Jolla Shores already needs fixing

Lifeguards: Visibility to water an issue

LA JOLLA, Calif. - Some lifeguards say a state-of-the-art lifeguard facility at La Jolla Shores is actually making their jobs more difficult.

The lifeguard tower at La Jolla Shores -- which cost $4 million -- is not even a year old, but it is in need of a fix.

"This tower is less safe than the old tower," said Ed Harris, a spokesman for the union that represents lifeguards.

Harris said visibility to the water and beach is compromised by the 90-degree angle of the glass in the tower.

"In the late afternoon, there's a pretty significant glare and it's causing problems for lifeguards," said San Diego Chief Lifeguard Rick Wurts.

Wurts said because there's a visibility problem, and therefore a safety problem, he's had to staff another tower in the afternoon, something he normally wouldn't do in winter.

"We don't usually have additional staffing there, but it's more important to have a safe beach," he said.

There were 640 rescues in 2013, and in 2012, lifeguards closed the beach after spotting a great white shark.

"We tried several fixes, but they didn't work, so now we're getting an expert," said Mark Nassar with the city of San Diego's Public Works Department.

That independent expert will be tasked with not only finding what's wrong, but how to fix it.

"We're going to make this right," Nassar said. "Our goal is to have lifeguards satisfied with the solution by this summer."

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