Costly Birdwatching Platform Still Not Open to Public

Art Anderson
Art Anderson
Jerry Leinecke, U.S Fish and Wildlife
Jerry Leinecke, U.S Fish and Wildlife

MAUI (KHNL) - It's a half mile long, eight feet wide and will end up costing more than three and a half million dollars.

KHNL News 8's Beth Hillyer investigates why after several years of construction, a birdwatching platform at Kealia Pond on Maui is still not open to the public.

These birdwatchers from Canada aren't supposed to walk on the boardwalk, but they are hoping to get a glimpse of the Hawaiian stilt.

Kihei Resident Art Anderson wonders, "They have been working on this project two years now and it's been built and rebuilt because there were problems with the plastic wood holes all up and down it was pretty dangerous."

Jerry Leinecke with U.S Fish and Wildlife explains, "It was constructed and finished about a year ago. The product we used was found out not to be satisfactory in this environment so we had to replace it. "

Beth Hillyer explains, "Original plans called for a parking lot right here next to the boardwalk. They'd planned on digging up these sand dunes but Maui County said no way so it was back to the drawing board. They had to redesign this parking lot and that means having to realign this road. Now they need to come up with 800-thousand dollars."

Leinecke adds, "Now we are waiting on a safety ramp off the highway that will lead into the parking lot and when that's completed will be ready to open it."

Anderson complains, "They just recently completed re-doing all the decking and the parking lot is still not done. I don't know why a lot of money was spent for something that nobody can really use.

If you add it up, the initial cost was 2.2 million.

To tear out and reinstall the plastic lumber was 600-thousand dollars.

And the parking lot will cost 800-thousand dollars.

That totals 3.6 million.

Despite the costs the U-S Fish and Wildlife service says thousands of people can stroll the boardwalk and take in Maui's wildlife for decades to come.