More thoughts on Iroquois Lagoon club
Hawaii's largely underdeveloped and poorly maintained recreational boating infrastructure has been a reoccurring subject in this column for years.
The causes for this situation range from disinterested administrations, to the Legislature's lack of funding and its apparent fear of private sector management, to mismanagement by bureaucrats, to environmental roadblocks, to those who will always challenge change.
Understanding this, I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about the little-known Iroquois Lagoon Yacht Club with a degree of mixed emotions.
On one hand, I had compassion for the club's boat owners, who after some 30 years of being the sole occupants of a small inlet just inside the Navy's Pearl Harbor, were now faced with paying heavy mooring fee increases or being evicted.
After all, they had constructed the mooring and clubhouse facilities themselves, and until the area surrounding the lagoon had been leased to a private developer, it had been their personal paradise.
On the other hand, I was somewhat pleased that at least one small corner of Pearl Harbor was going to be turned into a public marina, as I have long felt there has been way too much exclusivity in Pearl and Honolulu harbors.
And there is no question Hawaii needs more marinas.
The accessibility of a marina inside Pearl Harbor for civilian boaters, however, was a point I had questioned, as that has historically been an ever-changing situation depending on the Navy's demands for port security.
For instance, I have been told that ILYC members were not allowed to use their boats for nearly a year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks seven years ago.
It was primarily this point on accessibility, though, that prompted Iroquois Point Marina manager Jim Hayes to write a retort to my column noting, "We received Navy approval to allow civilians on the property two years ago.
"Ford Island Housing is all for opening Iroquois Point to the public," he added, "and we look forward to welcoming civilian boaters to this wonderful place."
As long as the security threat is low, of course, and unmentioned is the fact that civilians must pay the Navy for a background check for security reasons.
Hayes also contended I erred in writing that the developer offered just $1 for one of the ILYC's docks.
"That's what they offered us," he wrote.
On this point, my information came from a copy of a letter of demands from Ford Island Housing to the ILYC, dated June 25, 2008. It states in part, "The Yacht Club license use of the West Pier to FIH for one dollar until such time as all Yacht Club's members have relocated their boats or FIH has constructed new facilities at the Marina Property, whichever comes first."
The ILYC's former secretary Allan Cameron says the club originally asked to be reimbursed for the amount they had invested in the pier, but it was turned down.
I had hoped to make personal contact with Hayes for further clarifications, but my phone calls and e-mail have not been returned.