IN AND AROUND THE CAPITOL
Bill to allow commercial useBy Rosemarie Bernardo
of Ala Wai, Keehi harbors
The Senate Economic Development Committee on Wednesday will tackle a bill that would allow commercialization of two boat harbors, one regularly used by canoe paddlers, surfers and recreational motor boats.
The committee deferred decision-making on House Bill 2571, House Draft 1, at a Friday hearing attended by more than 50 opponents.
The bill would allow commercial-use activities at Ala Wai and Keehi harbors.
Testifiers expressed their worries about traffic, noise and safety at Ala Wai harbor.
Jessica Young, canoe paddler, said they currently have to steer around kayakers, fishing boats and sailors.
"I cannot imagine what it would be like if you allow commercial cruise ships, large recreational vessels and fishing charters to also use the Ala Wai Harbor," said Young, 15, who regularly paddles in the Ala Wai Canal.
Richard Stephenson, resident in the Ala Wai area, said: "There's very few pieces of paradise left in Waikiki. This is one of the last ones."
"It's taking public land away from the people," he said.
Rep. Galen Fox said the bill "takes Waikiki down instead of up."
"It makes our area worse, not better," said Fox (R, Waikiki).
Katherine Kim, who surfed in the Ala Wai area for 10 years, said, "In Waikiki, Ala Wai is the only place where we can park for free, where we can hang out for free."
The Wednesday meeting will be at 4 p.m. in Conference Room 224 at the state Capitol.
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Hawaii Revised Statutes