State opts to negotiate for Ala Wai harbor fuel dock
Gasoline will keep flowing at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor fuel dock while a state official tries to negotiate a new agreement with the business that runs it, the Board of Land and Natural Resources decided Friday.
At issue is the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' desire to take control of 19 boat slips on the fuel dock from Magic Island Petroleum Inc., whose current permit with the state allows it to sublease the slips to boaters.
The proposed change would allow the Ala Wai harbormaster to manage those slips as part of the overall harbor, which has a waiting list for boat moorings, DLNR Director Peter Young said.
But without $10,600 a month income from the slip rentals, the fuel dock and convenience store are a money-losing proposition, managers Russ and Lea Wells testified before the Land Board.
The Wells have given away hundreds of T-shirts that read "Save our fuel dock" and encouraged Ala Wai boaters, including those who rent from them, to lobby for keeping the existing agreement or granting a longer-term lease.
They presented the land board with 328 signatures on a petition to "save the fuel dock" and 30 letters in support.
A key issue for the state is not allowing slip-renters at the fuel dock to live aboard their boats, Young said last week. The practice exceeds the state's legal limit for live-aboard boaters at the Ala Wai, he said.
Under state law, bids can be sought to operate the fuel dock, or an agreement can be negotiated, Young said.
"My commitment is to try and work things out with the existing permittee," he said. That permittee is Brian Barbata, Magic Island Petroleum president, who employs the Wells as managers, he said.