The New Year
Renews Hope of Solving Old Problems

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (1/03/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Happy 1998!

Here we are in the third day of a new year, with the next 362 days stretched out before us. Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball that would tell us what the next 12 months will bring to our boating community?

For instance, as watching the Royal Hawaiian Rowing Challenge attempting to race in the silt-clogged Ala Wai Canal brings to mind, might we see this as the year that the decade-overdue dredging of Hawaii's "most polluted waterway" is finally begun? The newly organized Ala Wai Watershed Improvement Project brings hope for limiting future pollution, and the new shore-side landscaping is an improvement. But the fact remains that the canal's 20-year accumulation of muck must be dredged - and soon.

Another related question for the crystal ball would be whether the state intends to dredge the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor along with the canal. After all, the marina has received the same 20 years of alluvial fallout.

On the subject of state small boat harbors in general, I know everyone in the boating community would be interested in knowing how their legislators stand on the concept of leasing all, or some, of our state-run marinas to the private sector. Maybe our crystal ball could show us empirically how such a plan will effect boat owners.

Speaking of the state legislature - which goes into session later this month - in what other ways do you suppose their decisions, as seen by our crystal ball, may effect Hawaii's boaters?

Will we see legislation requiring the Department of Land and Natural Resources to rewrite their boating-related administrative rules - a mind-boggling 600-plus-page, incomprehensible volume - and create an understandable, comprehensive directive for boaters, enforcement officers and administrators alike?

Might we see legislators studying the pros and cons of such controversial subjects as the licensing of sport fishermen - with higher fees for visitors, of course - or the licensing of boat operators, or increasing the fee for commercial fishing licenses? You can bet their public hearings would attract quite a crowd.

Would it be possible to see our lawmakers writing a bill that would have the Department of Transportation create a more recreational-boat-friendly situation in Honolulu Harbor? Perhaps we would see in the ball a design for a visitor boat dock at Aloha Tower Marketplace as a part of the overall plan.

Could a similar relaxation of the normal pleasure boat prohibition to Pearl Harbor by the Navy also be predicted?

Might another check into our crystal ball show state legislation being passed to allow the DLNR to finally renegotiate long-term leases with the Waikiki and Hawaii yacht clubs? For the 50-year-old WYC, it will have been over 10 years in the coming.

And finally, while we are at it, we should probably ask the all-knowing ball to give us a forecast of this year's weather, because the absolute knowledge of a hurricane's dead hit on O`ahu would make all of the earlier predictions academic. After a severe storm surge, we would probably find most of our boats, along with the docks, on the mauka side of King Street.

Unfortunately, we have no such crystal ball, and perhaps it is just as well. With no one to accurately predict the future we are stuck working it out, one day at a time, and isn't that really what makes life interesting?

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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