Iroquois Point beach to open to public
Access starts April 15 after security issues curbed it for five years
Scenic Iroquois Point beach will be open to the public next month, almost five years after the land was leased to a private developer.
Water activities such as fishing, kayaking and surfing will be available between sunrise and sunset, according to developer Hunt Development of Hawaii.
The property, which belongs to the Navy and sits next to Pearl Harbor's entrance, was leased in 2003 to Ford Island Housing, a venture between Hunt and Fluor Hawaii.
The housing subdivision has 1,461 homes. Since then the beach has been closed to the public because of security concerns.
When the beach opens to the public on April 15, visitors will receive one-day free passes at the front gate. Cyclists will also be allowed in with state- or government-issued identification.
"We have met the security needs of our military ships that depend on a safe entry and exit into the harbor, as well as achieved our goal of helping visitors use the beach as state law requires," said state Rep. Kymberly Pine, who had been a proponent of public access.
The passes will have maps to show drivers how to get to the beach area by Iroquois Point Island Club, said Steve Colon, president of Hunt Development.
"Obviously, we're now working on how to implement the access," Colon said. "We still have to paint the parking stalls so people will know which ones are available to the public. We have to put up signs because the Navy has designated parts where people can swim and kayak and surf."
Colon said there will be 23 parking stalls, about 20 percent of the total beach parking available in the area.
There will be no lifeguards, and though the public will be allowed to use restrooms, it will not be allowed to use private amenities like beach chairs and cabanas.
"Like any plan, we're going to see how the implementation works and how it affects both the military, visitors and residents," Pine said. "We'll make changes according to how that goes. This is just the first step."
Although it was the developer's decision to close off access, Colon said the Navy wanted to maintain a certain level of security.
"We felt like we were required to continue what the Navy turned over to us, which was a gate guard," Colon said. "It was really both of our decisions."
Because of Pearl Harbor's function as a key strategic fleet location, the Navy's consideration for allowing access included public safety and security, said Navy spokeswoman Terry Kojima.
"Being a good neighbor is important to the Navy," Kojima said. "So we're pleased with this result, which balances the desires of the community as well as operational security within the areas managed by the Navy."