Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightThe state of Hawaii has teamed up with Kyo-ya Co. and the Hawaii Tourism Authority on a $2.4 million Waikiki initiative aimed at restoring and maintaining the destination’s world famous beach.

The 60-day project will likely begin in late December and replenish the sand along the 1,700-foot stretch of beach between the Duke Kahanamoku statue and a location between the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Sheraton Waikiki.

“Through this public-private partnership, we will take care of Waikiki Beach for all people of Hawaii to enjoy,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said during a May 12 announcement at the Royal Hawaiian. “This partnership is a great example of being innovative and collaborative in moving forward.”

The state is contributing $1.4 million while Kyo-ya Co. — owner of the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Surfrider, the Sheraton Waikiki and the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotels in Waikiki — has committed $500,000. The HTA will also provide $500,000.

About 24,000 cubic yards of sand will be recovered from deposits located 2,000 feet offshore, and that material will in turn be pumped onto Waikiki Beach, where the water will be removed and the sand placed along the designated 1,700-foot site. The beach will be widened a total of 37 feet and restored to a width not seen there since 1982.

“Everyone, from businesses to community groups and the public, is responsible for taking care of our environment,” said William Aila, chairman of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, during the project’s announcement. “We are restoring Waikiki Beach … in a way that is socially and ecologically responsible.”

Kyo-ya Co. is seeking a shoreline variance from Honolulu’s Department of Permitting and Planning for a planned 26-story luxury hotel and timeshare tower located just east of the Moana Surfrider. The new high-rise, which would be the first built on Waikiki Beach in decades, has sparked protests from local environmental and community groups who say the property would be too close to the water and occupy too much of the existing beach.

“We’d like to see the tower built, but this replenishment is not related,” Ernest Nishizaki, Kyo-ya’s executive vice president and COO, said in a May 13 Honolulu Star Advertiser report. “We believe it's important to restore Waikiki Beach for long-term use by residents and visitors.”
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