State says it will likely take months before commercial boats can launch out of West Maui
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state says it could be months before commercial boat operators have a way to launch their vessels out of West Maui.
It comes as the governor’s Oct. 8 date to reopen the area to tourism approaches.
Mala Warf is the only remaining boat ramp in West Maui following the Aug. 8 fires.
The Mala ramp is in the burn zone and is currently closed to the public, but the state says it hopes to reopen it within the next 30-60 days.
“It’s a safety issue for our employees. We do want to have a physical presence down there, so if we have staff, they will have access to bathrooms and water,” said DLNR Chair Dawn Chang.
But the question of who should use it is a heated one.
The nearest ramp is 17 miles away in South Maui, but some say that after the fires, West Maui’s only remaining ramp should be for residential use only.
“The whole history behind Mala Wharf is that people were getting pushed out of Lahaina town, and we had no way to launch our boats, and so they built Mala Wharf for that very reason, but we find ourselves getting pushed out of Mala,” said Kekai Keahi.
But, commercial operators want to use the Mala ramp for tours for visitors coming to West Maui.
Chang says she plans to come to Lahaina at the end of the month to discuss options.
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