- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Officials have approved repairs for a pier that collapsed at Oahu’s Waianae Boat Harbor in December, but the work is being held up because the permit came far sooner than expected.

Eric Yuasa, an engineer with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the department received the Water Quality Certification permit to begin work in April, a process he says usually takes about two years, KHON-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1Xmc0KC).

“It (the permit) came last month, but repairs remain on hold because the contractor is now waiting for materials to be shipped in from the mainland,” said Yuasa, who works for the department’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

The permit issued by the Hawaii Department of Health for projects on, above or adjacent to water ensures that steps are taken to mitigate negative impacts on the water.

Yuasa said that there were 42 Water Quality Certification permits as of October 2015 that had not yet been approved or dismissed. The average wait time for approval of those projects is 670 days, he said.

Keith Kawaoka, deputy director for the Environmental Health Administration, said he understands the frustration, but that it takes time for the department to carefully look over each application.

“We have the regulations to uphold and we’re the only ones to do this,” Kawaoka said. “It’s not going to be the Corps. It’s not going to be the city. It’s us.”

However, things seem to be looking up for the various agencies seeking permits in the future. Kawaoka said the outcome of recent meetings with various stakeholders is expected to cut wait times by 75 percent, as long as the key players implement the plan they developed through the discussions.

The department also recently approved work on Hawaii Island’s Honokohau Harbor. The permit came more than 700 days after the application was submitted.

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Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com

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