Future of Ala Wai Boat Habor brings heated debate at board meeting

Updated: Aug. 9, 2017 at 12:08 AM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the Waikiki Neighborhood Board Meeting Tuesday night, community members voiced concerns over the future of the state's largest boat harbor.

Hawaii's Land and Natural Resource's Division of Boating and Ocean Resources is looking at ways to redevelop the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and generate additional revenue.

"The Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor is a small boat harbor," said resident Patricia Kesling-Wood. "Not a condo, not a wedding chapel and not a mall."

Wood and her husband have lived on their 50-foot boat at the harbor since 2008.

They say the area has become rundown and things just need to be repaired and maintained.

DLT Hawaii, DLNR's hired consulting firm, presented four sites on the property that the state is looking to redevelop, including the current harbormaster's office and adjacent parking lot, the old fuel dock, the former haul out area and the triangular parking lot used by surfers and beachgoers.

The general manager of the Ilikai Hotel received a round of applause from attendees after he fired off at state officials during the meeting.

Robert Johnson said the DLNR abandoned the harbor and that a private-public partnership is not the right path to take.

"Now they are coming to the public and are looking for private interests to try and save poor management," Johnson said.

Developer Honeybee USA's previous plans for a mixed-used project at the harbor failed in 2016 when financial setbacks led to its lease being terminated.

DLNR plans to hold seven more stakeholder meetings and an additional public workshop in October or November. 110 participants attended the first workshop held in July.

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State officials hope to formulate a plan and submit a formal proposal by the end of the year.

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