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Lahaina ferry pier improvements are ready to proceed

The Maui News

Design modifications for ferry pier improvements at the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor will not require a supplemental environmental impact statement, according to a determination by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

West Maui state Rep. Angus McKelvey said the determination that no additional environmental study will be needed should help clear the way for the project to begin, perhaps sometime this year.

Two years ago, $3 million was appropriated for the project, and that money remains in the state budget, he said

“The one-level, L-shaped pier will help alleviate overcrowding at the fueling station and the main part of the harbor,” McKelvey said.

The priority users for the new pier will be, in order, the Expeditions ferries, the boating community and cruise ship tenders, he said.

“There had been some misinformation that the pier was (primarily) for cruise ship tenders, but that’s not the case,” he said.

One remaining concern focuses on the loss of some parking near the harbor’s lighthouse, McKelvey said.

“We’ll need to do some follow-up to see what can be done to alleviate that concern,” he said.

In June 2014, a final environmental study for the project was published by the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

The new pier for the Lanai/Maui ferries, cruise ship tenders and commercial and recreational vessels will be about 115 feet long and 20 feet wide. It will feature a grate-covered gangway connecting the new pier to the existing one, and the project design calls for building a low-rise structure on the deck of the new pier to provide shade and shelter.

Other project amenities include a sewage pump-out station, hose bibs, security lighting and water/sewer utilities. An existing administration office will be replaced, and there will be improvements to the passenger loading and drop-off area, upgrades to sidewalks along a portion of Hotel Street and to a portion of Wharf Street.

After acceptance of the final environmental impact statement, the project design was modified to increase the distance between the new and existing piers from 60 to 70 feet to accommodate larger ferry vessels, and the project’s pier support system was modified from pre-cast piles to drilled shafts, according to a letter from DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case to OEQC Director Scott Glenn.

The project design modifications did not require a new environmental study, she said.

Plans call for the new ferry pier to be built north of the existing pier and berthing area, which previously had been used to anchor the Carthaginian II. The pier will be able to accommodate about 100 people.

In a separate item in the OEQC bulletin, there’s a notice of a second draft environmental assessment for proposed catamaran landings in Makena at Maluaka Beach by Makena Boat Partners. Public comments are due April 23 on the proposal to board and disembark — up to four times a day — passengers and crew of the catamaran Kai Kanani II.

Passengers and crew would walk across the beach into shallow water to board the catamaran. Each boarding or disembarking would take no more than 10 minutes, according to the notice.

Public comments may be submitted to the applicant, Makena Boat Partners, 34 Wailea Gateway Place, Suite A105, Kihei 96753 (contact, Sidney Akiona, president, Kai Kanani Inc., phone 879-7218, email maria@kaikanani.com); and to the project consultant, PBR Hawaii, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 650, Honolulu 96813 (contact, Selena Pang, phone (808) 521-5631, email spang@pbrhawaii.com).

Also, a final environmental impact statement has been completed for Maui County’s proposed renewable energy conversion and sludge processing project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility in Kahului.

Project applicant Maui All Natural Alternative, an Anaergia Services company, proposes to install an anaerobic digester to produce and gather methane gas to fuel an on-site combined heat-and-power engine to produce electricity for the sewage treatment plant.

The project also would dry biosolids, or digested sewage sludge, produced at the plant. The dried sludge could be treated and used as fertilizer for parks, including the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course.

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