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Mala Wharf Redevelopment
Focus of House Bill

Posted 11:24 AM HST, February 18, 2013
West Maui, Mala Wharf, file photo by Wendy Osher.

West Maui, Mala Wharf, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A bill that would establish a Mala Wharf Task Force to examine the feasibility of redeveloping the collapsed pier at Mala Wharf on Maui, gained preliminary approval by a House committee on Friday.

The last time a feasibility study was conducted by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources was in 2006.  At the time, the state agency was trying to gauge the wharf’s suitability for inter-island ferry service.

The latest measure, HB1423 HD1, was adopted by the House Committee on Water and Land, in conjunction with the Committee on Ocean Management and Hawaiian Affairs.  It would require the BLNR chairperson to convene a task force for studying the redevelopment of the pier.

A media statement from the office of Rep. Angus McKelvey described the Mala Wharf pier as “a window into Maui’s past.”

Rep. McKelvey, who introduced the bill, and who represents the West Maui community said, “The key is to engage the West Maui community in the planning process, safeguarding the sensitive environmental resources, and honoring the harbor’s historical and social significance.”

The structure was originally designed as a commercial hub, but lawmakers now say the decrepit state of the pier–which has weathered tsunami events and constant breaking waves–creates a safety hazard for the increasing amount of local fisherman and recreational visitors.

Under the current version of the bill, the task force would consist of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, two members of the Lahaina community, one member of the scientific community with expertise in marine wildlife, one boating enthusiast, one member of the Hawaiian cultural community, one member of the visitor industry, and anyone else that the chairperson may deem necessary.

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  • rws

    never any mention of the surf spot, just about the boats

  • Seen it before

    The collapsed pier has become one of the healthiest reef systems with one of the most diverse selections of marine life on Maui. Construction of a new pier would no doubt permanently damage the marine ecosytem that has developed there. At the very least it would eliminate access to that area for shore dives and likely make it inaccessible for boat dives due to increased traffic. The surrounding area is not adequate to handle increased car, truck, trailer traffic and parking. And, neaby beach and surf spots would be irrepairable changed. Some things don’t need to be redeveloped. More hard shore line will also increase degradation and erosion with corresponding loss of nearby beaches and natural shoreline. The best that can be done for Mala is to protect it as is.

  • Capt Nimo

    I wish they put a marina in there. Maui sucks for boating. So limited on slips.

    • puukolii boy

      Put a marina? And damage the reef in Mala? I SAY NO! And to rebuild the warf , I SAY its a waste of money. It won’t workout cause of the wave actions. The vessels will be bashed agents the warf. That was the problem from along ago. Good idea but it won’t work. I’m also not looking forward to see any kind of dredging also! Also, in Mala there’s no places near to put any parking. And will cause more traffic in a already tight area. It won’t work.

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