Sinkholes in Florida Canyon targeted for quick fix

Biological and archaeological monitors will be there

Sinkhole near Balboa Hospital entrance
  • Sinkhole near Balboa Hospital entrance
  • Image by Irvin Gavidor

A 126-inch diameter corrugated metal storm drainpipe near the entrance to Balboa Naval Medical Center failed in late January, causing sinkholes along Florida Drive. Recent rains have caused more water than usual to flow in the stream that runs through Florida Canyon, former site of a Kumeyaay village. The city Public Works Department said that the sinkholes have compromised the adjacent sidewalk and roadway. One lane of westbound traffic and the sidewalk that runs from 26th Street to Zoo Drive, a popular place for joggers and the only paved pedestrian route in the canyon, have been closed for several weeks.

Open trench along Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve

Open trench along Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve

Immediate repair of the storm drain is necessary to prevent expansion of the sinkholes, the city said. The urgent nature of the project allowed city engineers to make an environmental determination to skip the regular review process that can take months or years. California Environmental Quality Act guidelines do allow statutory exemptions when the repairs are required to protect public health, safety, and property. Emergency replacement of 550 linear feet of deteriorated pipe has been approved and a timetable for repairs is in the works. Records show the pipe was installed in 1986.

The sinkholes are visible along a vegetated slope that is part of Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve and adjacent to government property occupied by the Naval Hospital. The Public Works Department “Notice of Right to Appeal Environmental Determination” said a biological and archaeological monitor will be present during work to ensure impacts to environmental resources are avoided. Any areas disturbed will be revegetated within 90 days of project completion.

Residents have until February 27 to file an application with the city clerk to appeal the environmental determination.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


While on the topic of The US Naval Hospital and it's impact on the surrounding Balboa Park Land, (Reason for the expansion of Florida Drive through the canyon). Can anyone tell me why there is about 50 Acres of City/Balboa Park/Citizen's Land that can only be accessed by driving/walking through the restricted Naval Hospital?
Yes there is Public Land that is under the sole control of the Navy used for weekday parking for the Naval Hospital. This land was never assigned to the Navy and they have never paid for it's exclusive use.

Along with that after the Hospital expanded in the mid 1980s the Park Land at Hospitality Point has all but been abandoned by the City, the former streets are still there but the few old Bodega style houses that once housed Admirals have been torn down . Hey City Council and Parks & Recreation how about getting proper compensation for the land use, let's see downtown parking is $20 per day, City College is $40 per Term. Sounds like the Navy owes us some cash $$$, for the 100 or so cars parked daily, maybe it could be used to repair Balboa Park!!! The reason the Navy wanted the hospital there in the first place, "Having the Park to help with the convalescence of the patients".

This might be in a run-off area from the old Arizona landfill? The southern tail end of that landfill is the slope just opposite of the Naval Hospital and those sinkholes. That might not be the smartest idea not to look at environmental reviews for that repair?

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader