By Doris Kung
The Rough Rider (Honolulu Hawaii)
Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two bills, bill 81 and 82, that involve businesses in Waikiki to pay for the replenishment done to the beach, based on their properties worth. Properties behind and in the middle of Waikiki are also included because they are benefiting from Waikiki too.
Businesses would pay about $7.63 annually, for every $1,000 of their property. “For a company like Starwood Hotel, they would pay about $81,000 a year,” said Rick Egged, President of the Waikiki Improvement Association, who is backing the bills. As like small businesses they would pay around or less than $100.
This would add an additional fee to the property owners, which doesn’t include residential fee. Many wouldn’t budge to pay the cost if their businesses aren’t doing so well, but adding a debt instead. On the other hand, we and others agree on the bills because Waikiki Beach is a tourist attraction.
“This is our grand canyon. This is our pyramid. This is why people come back every year, so it’s important that we take care of it,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Jim Szigeti.
If all of Waikiki beach were to wear down, the state would lose about $2 billion in visitor expenditures each year, according to the 2008 report from the Waikiki Improvement Association.
The replenishment bills will also include the seawalls fronting the Sheraton property to be redone, which cost $2 million; paid by some private owners’ money. The plan is to eventually build a beach where there hasn’t been one for a long, long time. Construction is expected to start at the end of next year.
Photo Credit: Bill Dickinson