Meeting on Mala ramp plans set for Tuesday

Another public informational meeting will be held Tuesday in Lahaina for officials from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to update residents on plans to improve the Mala boat launch ramp.

The meeting is set for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Kamehameha III Elementary School cafeteria at 611 Front St. Officials expected to attend include DLNR Boating Division staff, the project contractor, West and South Maui Sen. Roz Baker and West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey.

Plans call for replacing two concrete loading docks, a portion of the launch ramp and the approach to the ramp, as well as a parking lot and other improvements.

On June 4, DLNR boating and engineering staff met with boaters and ramp users to discuss a mutually agreeable two-month closure period for construction. The aim was to mitigate impacts on recreational and commercial boaters who regularly use the ramp.

According to state officials, the agreed-upon best time for closure was in October and November, which are the slowest months for whale-watching tours. Parasail and thrillcraft operators will be affected because it would take two months out of the seven that they are allowed to operate.

Mala is the only boat ramp facility in West Maui. The heavily used facility’s two concrete loading docks are old and badly deteriorated.

Goodfellow Bros. Inc. is the contractor for the $892,000 project. Most of the project funds, $669,000, comes from a federal grant from the Sport Fish Restoration Act, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The state is providing $223,000.