State decides not to expand Kahului pier
By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau
KAHULUI, Maui The state has dropped plans for a Kahului Harbor pier extension that was criticized for its potential impact on outrigger canoe clubs that use the harbor.
The state Harbors Division made the decision after canoe club members and harbor businesses indicated the project wasn't needed, said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesman.
"We are extremely happy," said Karen Chun of Na Kai Ewalu canoe club. "Right now we're celebrating."
The 2025 master plan for Kahului Harbor included the "finger pier" extension called Pier 2c aimed at creating more docking space in the state's third-busiest commercial harbor.
As proposed, Pier 2c would have extended toward the middle of the harbor from the end of Pier 2. A draft environmental assessment of the plan estimated that only a few canoe racing lanes would be eliminated by the proposed pier.
But paddlers said the new pier would have virtually eliminated paddling in the harbor, especially after factoring in security restrictions imposed after 9/11. Among other things, the regulations require a 300-foot buffer around cruise ships and other passenger vessels.
Thousands of paddlers use the harbor year-round for activities such as summer and high-school regattas and for an alternative education program. Two canoe clubs maintain clubhouses at Ho'aloha Park: Na Kai Ewalu and Hawaiian Canoe Club, Maui's largest canoe club and four-time defending state champion.
Barry Fukunaga, deputy director for the Harbors Division, wrote to the Hawaiian Canoe Club saying the pier would be deleted from the master plan and that it would be considered in the future only after all of the harbor's users are involved in the planning process.
Reach Timothy Hurley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 244-4880.