State Response to Sand Island Development Concerns

State Response to Sand Island Development Concerns

The State wants to build a marina in Kamokuʻākulikuli, better known as Sand Island.  Community members voiced strong opposition to the plan at a recent community meeting. Department of Land & Natural Resources Chairman William Ailā recently spoke with ʻŌiwi TV to give the Stateʻs pitch for the plan.

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The State recently unveiled their plan for the Sand Island Ocean Recreation Park.  The $30 Million project would drastically change the face of Kamokuʻākulikuli, better known as Sand Island.  The part of the plan receiving the most attention is the 25 acre marina with over 400 slips.  Department of Land & Natural Resources Chairman William Ailā gives us the Stateʻs perspective.

“The plan for a marina and the development is actually an internal plan that came from a staff at the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.  Looking at their overall mission of number one trying to increase access to the ocean.  Number two increasing revenues for the department.”

Those revenues stay within the Division Of Boating and Ocean Recreation for maintenance fees of all Hawaiʻiʻs harbors.  Given the approximately five year waiting list for recreational slips at Ala Wai boat harbor, the State sees a need to build a new marina.

“We have a demand that exceeds supply all the time because itʻs very expensive to meet that demand” says Ailā.

The State views Kamokuʻākulikuli as the ideal site for meeting this demand.

“This area in particular is very attractive because it wouldnʻt require the building of a break wall—which add costs.  There is very little to none coral growing in this area because this area is basically filled land” adds Ailā.

In addition, Kamokuʻākulikuli already has existing infrastructure such as water, sewer, roadways, telephone and electrical systems. The State estimates building a marina here would save about 50 million dollars and more than 10 years of construction time.

The remaining costs are expected to be absorbed by a private developer, not taxpayers.Chairman Ailā explains: “The costs would be borne basically by the private sector.  They would make their money back by charging private sector rates to the occupants of the marina as well as the commercial centers.”

The plan includes more parking, boat storage, more bathrooms, storage for canoes and kayaks and other amenities for boaters and ocean enthusiasts.

“This is a way to improve public access, to improve public enjoyment of an area thatʻs basically an industrial area right now.  Upgrading it in the urban core, to allow for many different activities.”

While the State views this site as an ideal place for a marina, many community members currently using the area for activities such as canoe paddling have their own concerns.  Healani Canoe Club paddler Pua Paiaina shared her thoughts at a recent community meeting.

“Any kind of development will bring constant traffic of personal boats and commercial boats.  And will also cause countless risky dangerous and perhaps harmful and damaging situations to our paddlers as well as our canoes.”

“Thatʻs one issue that can be mitigated perhaps by moving the marina around and dedicating an area where we separate out the paddlers from the motor vessel traffic.” Chairman Ailā adds.

“The users have to understand that from my perspective sitting in the chair seat I have to be concerned about whatʻs best for everybody, not just for any special use group that is currently having access to this area.  I have to look at the broader picture, we have to plan out 20 years from now.”

As the State and the community work together to plan the future of Kamokuʻākulikuli, stay tuned to ʻŌiwi TV for updates and other stories about the rich cultural history of this area.

Go online to to learn of upcoming public meetings and while youʻre there, tell us what you think about this issue and others by leaving a comment and becoming part of the conversation.

Producer & Editor: Maui Tauotaha (Email:
Photographer: Ken Chong (Email:

ʻŌiwi TV reaches across generations, socio-economic statuses, and geographic locations as the sole media venue where the Hawaiian language, culture and perspective thrive. Through Digital Channel 326, ʻŌiwi TV reaches over 220,000 households across the entire State via Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s network. Through its website, mobile, and social media venues, ʻŌiwi TV is reaching Hawaiians everywhere and engaging a generation of Hawaiians that expect to access anything and everything from anywhere at anytime.

1 Comment


  1. […]  DLNR Chairperson William Ailā responds to the concerns of the proposed Sand Island Marina Plan […]

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