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Marina deleted from Ewa Beach resort

The cost of digging a channel and lack of demand for boat slips prompt the shift

By Andrew Gomes


A marina in Ewa Beach planned as part of the Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei Resort communities had been dramatically downsized and reconfigured a few times in the last 30 years, but now it's slated for elimination.

Developer Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. plans to convert its 54-acre Ocean Pointe/Hoakalei marina site between White Plains Beach and Oneula Beach Park into a recreational lagoon with no surface connection to the ocean.

The decision was largely based on a lack of demand for market-priced boat slips and the cost to excavate a channel, the company said.

Though Haseko already dredged the marina interior and constructed jetties, the company said it couldn't justify further investment connecting the area to the ocean with a channel roughly 300 feet wide, 1,500 feet long and 20 feet deep.

Haseko said the change to a recreational lagoon will allow the company to fulfill the general vision for its $1.4 billion waterfront community sooner while opening the area to wider public use.

"Creating a lagoon enables us to achieve our long-held vision of a vibrant waterfront community in a more timely and efficient manner," said Sharene Saito Tam, a Haseko vice president.

Lagoon features would include crescent-shaped sandy beaches, a canoe hale, an amphitheater and a floating pedestrian bridge, according to a conceptual plan.

Activities in the brackish water would exclude motorized equipment but include swimming in a shallow area as well as canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing in deeper areas.

Other elements of the plan include a mile-long path between the lagoon and the ocean, commercial space renting watercraft, restrooms, showers and about 150 to 200 public parking spaces.

The marina channel was a source of contention for some, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which years ago argued against it because it would affect traditional shoreline activities of Native Hawaiians.

Tesha Malama, a 41-year Ewa Beach resident, said some boaters will be disappointed along with fishers who looked forward to slips and a public boat launch ramp that were planned along with the marina, but that the conversion to a lagoon is beneficial to the broader community.

"I think you'll have more of the general public users," she said. "The change will be better for the greater community."

Local economist Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics said in a report Haseko commissioned that the lagoon will benefit the developer as a resort amenity but that the public benefit will be greater.

"(Haseko's) intention to provide extensive public access to its lagoon, promenade, cultural and archaeological sites and to integrate its shoreline reaches with a continuum of beachfront park and recreational opportunity stretching from Oneula Beach Park in Ewa Beach to White Sands Beach in Kalaeloa is uniquely an attempt to privately produce a public good, for the benefit of the community and for the enhancement of the resort's commercial and activity-oriented businesses," Brewbaker wrote in the report.

The envisioned change is among the biggest for the 1,100-acre master-planned project initially proposed in 1979 by Colorado-based MSM & Associates which sought to create a community built around a marina with branching waterways like Hawaii Kai.

The original project, long known as Ewa Marina, gained a key approval from the state Land Use Commission in 1984, allowing development of up to 7,200 homes around a marina with 2,500 boat slips and 8.5 miles of waterways.

Haseko bought the property and development entitlements in 1989 for the project that by then called for 1,500 slips in a marina still similar to Hawaii Kai's, along with about 5,000 homes and a 27-hole golf course.

Construction began in 1997. In 2001 Haseko amended its master plan to reduce the size of the marina from 120 acres to 70 acres by eliminating an inland basin in conjunction with redesigning the golf course with 18 holes.

Later, Haseko cut the number of boat slips to between 600 and 800 on 54 acres.

The marina is one of three commercial pieces of the Ocean Pointe/Hoakalei community yet to be realized. Haseko has built about 3,500 of 4,850 homes, and the Ernie Els-designed golf course opened in 2009. Still to be developed are 950 units of hotel or time-share accommodations and a complex with retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

Saito Tam said there is no timetable for the visitor accommodations or commercial complex. She said the west side of the lagoon next to an archaeological and wetlands preserve could be open by the end of 2015 if permits and environmental approvals are obtained.

Some issues that will need to be examined in an environmental assessment or impact statement include water circulation and storm water drainage.

The lagoon's brackish water circulates naturally through porous rock below but would be enhanced by pumping ground water into the lagoon from a new well to refresh the lagoon four times a day, Saito Tam said.

The marina was to serve as an outlet for 10-year flood drainage. Saito Tam said Haseko plans to add more retention ponds on the golf course to catch runoff along with a couple of ponds next to the lagoon.

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RIKanaka wrote:
"...no surface connection to the ocean"? I can imagine how pilau this brackish water lua will be. More worse than the Ala Wai, only good for tilapia.
on November 6,2011 | 01:33AM
wiliki wrote:
No tilapia.... too much fish poop! If they recirculate the water through the wells, then it sounds like that would work. I presume there will be some marsh land area before the water is going to drain to the wells for transport to the entrance at the other end of the marina.
on November 6,2011 | 11:41AM
HawaiiBigFish wrote:
The State of Hawaii and City and County can have an immediate affect on job growth by enforcing the permits requirements for the Ewa Marina project. In their Environmental Impact Study, Haseko stated they would build the marina and the marina would provide both construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs that are not just minimum wage. In their rezoning application Haseko stated they would build the marina in years 4 to 6 of the project. In their water use permit application, and contested case hearing, Haseko stated "The marina will be the focal point of the project". They cited jobs, tax revenue to the State and future business opportunities for the public, as justification for their permit. They even stated yacht races like the Kenwood Cup and even the America's cup would bring millions in revenue to the State and would generate even more jobs. Now, they say they changed their minds and will not complete the marina. This will save Haseko millions, and cost the State all of the promised tax collections, and the public the promised job opportunities. Isn't this a no-brainer? The City and State can create jobs at no cost to the Government by simply enforcing permit requirements. Haseko, would now like the public to believe that NOT building the Marina is the best thing for us. Really. Haseko wants us to believe that leaving a borrow pit behind is best for the homebuyers, Ewa Beach community and State of Hawaii. Haseko permitted a marina, marketed homes in newsletters and on your website in a marina resort community and now say they changed their mind. This is a Golden Opportunity for our elected officials to show how they protect the public, consumers, and the permit processes that we are all expected to follow.
on November 20,2011 | 07:15AM
CaptK wrote:
Ever been to Enchnted Lake, can you say mosquitos?
on November 6,2011 | 03:49AM
wiliki wrote:
They could probably manage that a few mosquito fish in the lagoon and some prudent release of biological controls like this new GMO moquitos that seem to work well.
on November 6,2011 | 11:44AM
nitestalker3 wrote:
i don't know about oha not being in favor of the access to the ocean, but when i went to meetings and testimony way back in the early 90s, the hawaiians present were upset every time somebody testified that there should not be a harbor with ocean access built by haseko. they would start muttering among themselves and the tutus would get really upset and seemed to me to want access to the ocean. the "ocean experts" that i listened to testify seemed to be paid by haseko as they insisted that coral and ogo destruction would rebound in a matter of years instead of decades and stated that the silt plume would do little if any damage to the downcurrent bottom. they seemed to neglect the fact that what you see of the plume on the surface is only a small part of the silt going with the current under water. when the puncutre of cap water holding was brought up, everybody would get excited and start to pummel those bring up the issue stating that cap water locations would never be breached. i seem to remember, however that cap water was breached in one area and all of a sudden construction in that area was stopped. as for the water in the lagoons being able to be accessed for swimming and water sports, how do you do that without a continuous flow of fresh water. putting new water in four times a day won't solve the problem as where will the pilau water go when the new water comes in with no access to the ocean. the place will be another tank (war memorial natatorium) with no water circulation, replenishment with the ocean and ability to push old water back to the sea.
on November 6,2011 | 04:02AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Bait and switch by developer. Again.
on November 6,2011 | 07:13AM
waikiicapt wrote:
"The lagoon's brackish water circulates naturally through porous rock below but would be enhanced by pumping ground water into the lagoon from a new well to refresh the lagoon four times a day, Saito Tam said." So we have to use electricity to run pumps to circulate the water 24/7? Brilliant! How about just break open the land and let the water flow naturally?? And why are the EIS studies for this being done only now? No make sense, it's already been built and done.
on November 6,2011 | 08:03AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Haseko ran out of money, plain and simple!
on November 6,2011 | 09:53AM
cojef wrote:
Cheap! Cheap! and cheaper!
on November 6,2011 | 10:14AM
Anonymous wrote:
I live down the block from what I thought was going to be a new marina. With a whole new plan, I hope it is done in my life time.
on November 6,2011 | 10:41AM
wiliki wrote:
This is disappointing. You'd think that with the number of housing developments in the area that a marina is a natural. Perhaps the state could assist in the dredging of a channel to complete the marina?
on November 6,2011 | 11:36AM
misskalea wrote:
Totally agree. DLNR should invest with some of the money they make from the new Land Development Corp. The City and State should definitely step in with this decision.
on November 6,2011 | 04:29PM
misskalea wrote:
This is horrible. They shouldnt be allowed to develop anything without that marina. It will be like enchanted lakes...the worst engineered waterway ever. Its also bs that they are claiming there is not enough market demand for boat slips. With the new "second city" there will be more than enough demand. They have the most amazing oppotunity to make such an epic boating community that these days would never get LUC approval. What a waste of such an amazing resource. All they will have now is a cess pool of golf course runoff....yuck! Nobody will want to live in that community. I say spend the extra money for the waterway cause it will definitely pay off in the long run. These guys are the definition of bad developers.
on November 6,2011 | 04:24PM
aomohoa wrote:
That is why I'm worried. We bought in KaMakana because of a promise of a Marina. We were so looking forward to it. No one asked us if we would use a boat slip. Who did they ask? i want to know. We were sure the value of our property would do nothing but go up, Now who knows.
on November 6,2011 | 06:15PM
Anonymous wrote:
No bother asking anyone about the use of a boat slip.......they had no intention of building the Marina anyway. "I think we got enough suckers to buy......let's tell them we'll build a pond instead of a Marina and we'll keep the extra money." heh...heh...heh....
on November 7,2011 | 04:35AM
aomohoa wrote:
I sure hope you are wrong, Anonymous.
on November 7,2011 | 07:47AM
Anonymous wrote:
Probably not! Read the headlines!! Marina deleted from Ewa Beach resort!
on November 7,2011 | 05:12PM
aomohoa wrote:
I sure hope you are wrong, Anonymous.
on November 7,2011 | 07:48AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
How many people bought on the presumption that a Marina would be built..... Sure there were probably disclaimers (we plan to, but are not obligated and may not, build a Marina...). But still, what a mess....
on November 7,2011 | 09:54AM
svkamahoi wrote:
Lack of demand for boat slips? Has anyone checked on how long the waiting list at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor is? The last person I knew who got a slip there was on the waiting list for 8 years.
on November 8,2011 | 11:59AM
aomohoa wrote:
I have come to the conclusion that having safe clean beaches might even be better that a marina. No pollution from the boats.
on November 8,2011 | 04:04PM
Mediocrates wrote:
I and my neighbors are very upset about these changes and more so about how we were all told about them after Haseko has sold most all of its planned homes in the Ka Makana development. It is clear that they have been planned for some time and that Haselo intentionally sold millions and millions of dollards worth of homes to people with the full knowledge that the upscale "resort community" they were selling would not at all resemble the final product. Instead we the residents of this community will be hosting the Ewa Beach community pool. I was even contacted by the reporter doing the story for a quote, but when the reporter Andrew Gomes, learned I lived in the community he refused to use me as a source because I might have a bias one way or the other on the reported change. But the following day, reporter Dan Nakaso writes a puff-piece with alleged "residents" praising the changes. Three whole people are surveyed, not a single one of which is identified as actually living in the Ka Makana Haseko community. Rep. Kym Pine, for example, who does NOT live in the the Ka Makana Haseko community but elsewhere in Ocean Pointe. The other two people merely talk about going to the beach and a canoe club. A canoe club was part of the marina design, and Haseko is supposed to help clean up the adjacent Oneula Beach park to make it a cleaner, family friendly beach park. Instead the people who bought from Haseko are now being told that WE (not the city or state or any other government) will have to pay to maintain the public pool and park which will surely bring a completely different demographic into our small quite community than would an upscale marina which is what we were buying into. Just look at Haubush and how abused and neglected and lawless it is if you want to imagine the future of this pool -project as opposed to an upscale Marina.
on November 10,2011 | 07:26AM
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