A bill that could have led to the privatization of Honokohau Harbor lost out despite support from the agency that oversees the facility. The bill could pave the way for Honokohau serving as a model for other small boat harbors around the state. The harbor’s current steward, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, supports opening harbors to public-private partnerships statewide, saying DLNR resources could be better directed to resource protection in nearshore waters. … The harbor — which has lacked needed repairs and upgrades for years — could have been managed by the county or placed under a county redevelopment authority similar to the one newly put in place on Hilo’s Banyan Drive.
State supports harbor privatization
Source: Bret Yager, West Hawaii Today, April 3, 2016
A bill to privatize Honokohau Harbor after years of disrepair is gaining steam at the Capitol. And the state agency which now oversees the facility is backing what could become a model for privatization of small boat harbors across Hawaii. Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case has told lawmakers the small boat harbors program needs to take a different direction. In written testimony, she is supporting opening up Honokohau to public-private partnerships — but she’d like to go even further and is seeking legislative support for making that option available at harbors statewide. … Supporters of a different approach to the state’s small boat harbors include Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Pursuit Sportfishing, Blue Ocean Mariculture, the Honolulu-based Ocean Tourism Coalition and others. The United Public Workers union opposes the bill, saying it fails to spell out control, responsibility and liability. The majority of submitted testimony favors the concept, however. And local input would be possible through a paradigm similar to the new county management authority that has been created for DLNR land on Banyan Drive, said Rick Gaffney, president of the Hawaii Fishing and Boating Association.
Privatization for Honokohau Harbor? Critics say state management is unresponsive to needs
Source: Brett Yager, West Hawaii Today, January 28, 2016
… The lack of progress in basic repair and maintenance of the harbor has been an ongoing issue, and served as the main impetus for the legislation. The bill authorizes the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to transfer operation and management of Honokohau to a county or community-based board, public-private partnership, or private entity. … Honokohau could be served well by a management authority similar to the newly proposed Banyan Drive Redevelopment Agency, a plan the county announced earlier this month to take over the role of overseeing leases and development in that area of Hilo, Gaffney said. DLNR has indicated it supports the idea. … Privatization of some of the state’s boat harbors has been talked about for decades, but the concept has always been met with sufficient resistance from harbor users that the efforts have been stymied. In 2001, the House passed a resolution to privatize the Ala Wai and Honokohau small boat harbors, but encountered a backlash from those who said lawmakers were trying to push the measure ahead without a public hearing.