Marina project for Ewa Beach
hits another perplexing snag

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (3/28/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Next Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of this Water Ways column, and for nearly all of those five years, the Haseko Corporation's planned 1,400-slip marina project for Ewa Beach has been a repetitive feature.

In numerous columns, I have tried to point out just how unique it is for a marina to be developed entirely without public funding, and how unique and exciting it would be to have a fully integrated maritime community in Hawai`i.

Similar to communities found up and down the West Coast, Ewa Marina will contain residential housing, commercial interests and recreational opportunities, all centered around an active boating environment.

Hawaii Kai might have been such a place had the Kalanianaole Highway bridge been built high enough to allow sailboats and large power boats to pass beneath, and its waterways been dredged deep enough for the draft of those same vessels.

Considering the state of our state's economy, I would think everyone would welcome the potential revenue - estimated at $2 billion - which would be generated by the creation of a new marina and planned community. And yet, after a decade of concerted effort, the company is still working to fulfill its permit requirements.

The latest setback for Haseko came from the State Supreme Court, when it ruled that the company's Conservation District Use Permit must be sent back for further review and clarification.

This permit, which had already been obtained from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, was not a dredging permit, as has been reported by some, but rather Haseko's permit to cut an access channel from the marina dredging site, through the shoreline, to the open ocean.

The good news, according to Haseko's community affairs manager, Vicki Gaynor, is that the permit can be reissued over the next three to four months. The sole reason it was sent back was with concern to the issue of whether Native Hawaiian gathering rights could be affected if the shoreline was breached at that location.

Gaynor said gathering rights were closely studied during the public and contested case hearings.

Another issue Haseko is taking very seriously, Gaynor says, is with accusations and allegations being made that the marina site is full of religious shrines and burial sites, which it's archaeologists have blatantly ignored or even tampered with to cover up their significance.

"We requested that both the state Historic Preservation Division's archaeologists and the Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist revisit a number of sites with us," Gaynor said. "They assured us the allegations made cannot be substantiated."

In his report, State Historic Preservation Division administrator, Don Hubbard, stated that his staff had found no archaeological evidence of religious features at the sites of concern, or any disturbed burial sites. What they did find were typical parts of non-religious architecture.

In my personal - albeit untrained - assessment of the Ewa Marina site, it is a junk-strewn tangle of cane and hou bushes, along a rocky shoreline, guarded by World War II concrete pill boxes. If there is any place on O`ahu less deserving preservation and more deserving reasonable development, I can't imagine where it would be.

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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