Posted on May 15, 2023
Hawaii legislators have approved $5.4 million in the state budget to dredge Hawaii Island’s Pohoiki Boat Harbor, which was blocked off by lava during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea.
That flow claimed hundreds of homes in Lower Puna, including that of former Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.
”A real, real sadness came over me,” the former mayor said, as he reflected on the day he lost his family’s vacation home in Kapoho.
Kim knows just how important the gathering place is to the people of Puna.
”The state is now trying to work with the community to reopen the harbor for fishermen because there was a key place for fishermen to go and take the boat out,” Kim said. “For people to understand, if you can’t go here on the fishing grounds, you have to drive your boat all the way from Hilo.”
Despite the beauty of the newly formed black sand beach, many say the harbor needs to be dredged.
But not everyone agrees on how the job should be done ― and how to get enough federal supplemental funding for the projected $22 million project.
A virtual community meeting is slated for next week to review the draft environmental assessment and get public comment on the hot button issue in Puna. The meeting will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 10.