Ala Wai harbor repair is first step of many
A new dock is the first major improvement at the boat harbor in decades.
After decades of disgraceful neglect, the Ala Wai Boat Harbor is finally getting some much-needed improvements and the design of new docks apparently will make future repairs easier and less expensive.
The initial project involves just one new dock, but it represents a good start toward long-awaited changes at the harbor that has been a blemish on Oahu's main tourism district, in stark contrast to the sprucing up Waikiki has seen in recent years.
There's more to come. The state says it will spend $10 million to replace three other docks next year that hold 172 boat slips, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources will try to get another $10 million from the Legislature next year to continue harbor improvements across the state.
Lawmakers, who have been reluctant to send more money to boating facilities, should approve bonds and fee programs like they did for the Ala Wai to bring Hawaii's other deteriorating harbors up to standards. It is shameful that facilities don't reflect the needs of an ocean-oriented community, which also must be willing to pay for some fixes.
The new dock will offer 70 slips by next summer and replace a temporary dock that had been donated after an unsafe older structure was demolished. The dock will be installed in modular units that can be easily replaced. It also is made of materials that will better withstand salt-water conditions.
Though the Ala Wai harbor is getting its due, the state estimates other harbors need work that would cost $250 million.
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