Dock shutdown fuels Ala Wai dispute

Ala Wai dock dispute
Bruce Lenkeit
Bruce Lenkeit
Edward Underwood
Edward Underwood
Richard Ally
Richard Ally

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tenants at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor are in an uproar over the temporary shutdown of its only fueling dock.

Magic Island Petroleum says it will no longer provide fuel for hundreds of boaters as of March 15, to make way for a $24 million dollar harbor facelift. Many blame the state for lack of planning and are circulating a petition to stop the deal.

"They don't care what the boaters needs are," said longtime tenant Bruce Lenkeit. "They're just looking to make a dollar any way they can."

As a result of the shutdown, boaters will have to travel all the way to Keehi Lagoon to refuel or will have to rely on service from fueling trucks hired by the state, which will only operate about four days a week.

The state says it also was caught off guard by Magic Island's decision to shut down so soon. It said it had expected the company to continue until a new fueling dock would be built.

"We got a 15-day notice that they were going to shut down fueling operations and a 30-day notice they were going to vacate the premises so we've been scrambling since then to find a provider for fuel," said Edward Underwood, state boating division chief.

The state says it is close to finalizing a deal with a vendor to provide a fuel truck for the harbor but service will likely be for just four days a week and not seven-days a week as it is now.

The temporary trucks will likely be in place until September. That's when developer Honey Bee USA expects to complete construction of its new fueling station.

The redevelopment project, dubbed Waikiki Landing, is the first major facelift at the boat harbor in 45 years.

The project will include a wedding chapel, retail stores and restaurants. The state says the commercial operations will help subsidize the fuel station and planned boatyard repair site, which are expected to lose money.

But boaters say they are incensed that a vital fuel line is being cut to make way for a wedding chapel. Others believe that the project will mean a loss of community.

"It's like a meeting place. It's a good place to sit down eat lunch and do my laundry. I'm going to miss this place," said longtime tenant Richard Ally.

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