Major Sunset Beach dune restoration project could be model for other spots
SUNSET BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Work started Wednesday to restore the sand dune at Sunset Beach after it was ravaged by last winter's waves.
It's a project many North Shore residents say couldn't have started soon enough.
"I don't know why they left it like this for so long," said Arnold Dowling, who lives nearby.
Added 23-year resident Virginia Hebert: "Everybody here has been waiting for something like this to take place because it's just so ugly."
On Wednesday afternoon, crews stripped away asphalt from a bike path that monster surf left dangling over the sand.
The work is step one in a plan from the city and several community groups to restore the severely eroded dune.
Once the bike path is gone and sand from a nearby stream is pushed onto the beach, native vegetation will be planted to trap and stabilize the sand.
The city says it will create designated pathways to enter and exit the beach. New signs and fencing will also go up.
"We're asking everyone to kokua and be mindful of the sand and foot erosion that takes place. The more people who go there, the more sand that escapes," said Jeanne Ishikawa, deputy director for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Most residents and beachgoers say they're glad something's finally being done, but still have doubts about whether it will be any kind of long term solution.
"It will be nice to see a change," said Dowling. "I don't know how it's going to work. We'll see what happens."
Hebert agreed. "You can never really tell what mother nature is going to do."
If this project is successful, the city says it could implement it at other beaches across the island.
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