comscore Enhanced public access is key to Hoakalei’s Ewa plan | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Island Voices

Enhanced public access is key to Hoakalei’s Ewa plan

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Although some details have changed, Haseko’s vision for Hoakalei Resort in Ewa Beach has not. We plan to create a vibrant waterfront resort community where residents, guests and community members will enjoy a sea of recreational spaces dedicated to healthy living, wellness and Native Hawaiian culture.

A recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial called into question Haseko’s course change from marina to recreational lagoon as well as the community’s access to the shoreline ("View new Ewa resort plan warily," Our View, Oct. 25). But the fact is that this transformation into a recreational lagoon will provide even more public access than what was called for under the marina plan.

Under the old plan, lateral shoreline access would have been disrupted by the marina channel entrance. With the lagoon plan, the lateral shoreline access is continuous and includes pathways that connect the two public beach parks next to Hoakalei, specifically Oneula Beach Park and White Plains Beach, to pathways that run around the lagoon, up to the public swimming cove and through the planned commercial districts.

The public cove will offer recreational opportunities including sunbathing and picnicking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding, as well as pathways for walking, jogging and biking.

A 200-stall paid parking lot is being proposed not only to mitigate problems like abandoned cars but also to help generate revenue to support the maintenance of the public spaces and amenities.

People who don’t want to pay for parking can always walk, jog or bike to the cove. Or, they can start their day at either of the beach parks, and stroll along the restored shoreline for a short walk to the new swim cove.

We’re already making the shoreline more accessible, by hauling away tons of rubbish and rezoning to allow for more of a shoreline preservation area to keep it that way. We’re confident the lagoon will benefit a much broader number of people, and give shoreline users a reason to venture inland and discover the legacy of the area and to support the businesses we hope to attract to Hoakalei.

The layout of Hoakalei Resort welcomes the public to come play and spend time with family and friends. It’s unique in that it pursues a commercial strategy that encourages public use. The impetus behind the resort plan was to be neighborhood friendly — to be a place where residents come to eat, shop, play and spend quality time together.

The Hoakalei Resort lagoon will be available for public access for water sports, ocean recreational and cultural activities within the resort — with the goal of becoming a regional public center on West Oahu.

It’s unfair to compare demand for slips at a private marina to the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, a public state-subsidized marina. There is a waiting list for the Waikiki harbor because the fee for the slip is less than the cost to maintain it. In addition, private marinas today have an abundance of available slips; the fact is, there just isn’t a high demand for them. That said, moving forward with a recreational lagoon doesn’t preclude it from becoming a marina in the future, when and if it makes economic sense.

Haseko’s decision to provide meaningful public access to its lagoon, promenade, cultural and archaeological sites and to integrate its shoreline with surrounding areas will not only enhance the resort’s commercial and activity-oriented businesses, but benefit the public as well.

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