Contentious debate over public access to the San Joaquin River raged at Fresno City Hall

Thursday, November 16, 2017
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Arguments came from those who support allowing access to the River West area.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Passionate arguments came from those who support allowing access to the River West area through an exclusive neighborhood on the Bluffs, through River View Drive and those who want access moved further west to Palm and Nees.

The chairman of the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board, Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas clearly supported the Palm and Nees access point, as did fellow Conservancy Board Member and Fresno City Council member Steve Brandau. They both pushed the access point at Palm and Nees favored by a group of prominent Bluff residents and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

"My feeling is there is a very divided conservancy board right now and I was sincere in my comments that I want to see again from my many years on the River Parkway Board and 8 years on the council this is a great amenity I want to see go forward," said Brand.

But other members of the board, most notable officials of various state agencies were not convinced and thought the access point off of Riverview, originally built to allow access to a residential development deserved more consideration.

In the end, the measure backed by Brandau and Borgeas to declare the Palm and Nees entrance known as option 5B failed, and the board agreed to come back in a month and give fair consideration to alternative one on Riverview and 5B. Sharon Weaver of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust supports the River View Drive option.

"I think this is the best outcome we could expect today, which is that next month the conservancy board is going to come back they are going to have two alternatives they can look at and choose from and this perspective that's the best possible scenario," said Sharon Weaver.