Dealing with erosion at Kailua Beach

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Beaches are part of what makes Hawaii paradise. But due to erosion, people on this island are slowly losing some of our greatest assets.

Viewers wanted to know what is being done to protect a popular beach on the windward side of Oahu that is noticeably fading away.

State legislators have plans to step it up.

After years of Band-Aid fixes from both the city and state, they want to find a long-term solution that could be used as a model for all of our beaches.

The view of Kailua Bay from Lanikai Point is still breathtaking, but it has lost some of its youthful glow.

“It never eroded away as much as it did now,” Lanikai Point resident Cosette Harms said.

The once gentle slopes are now steep cliffs and the ocean is slowly swallowing trees along the shoreline.

Harms shared a picture of Kailua Bay from the 1950s.

“There’s a lot more sand in the picture, it just makes an even swirl,” Harms said.

Everyone who grew up here can remember the beach back in its prime.

“You see the boat ramp, the sand used to be 50 feet in front of the boat ramp, probably 100 yards out all sand,” Kailua resident uncle “Stu” Kalama said.

For years, the city has been trying to restore and replenish the sand.

But many residents say it’s not working. Some even feel it’s adding to the problem.

“They dig it out, haul it down there, the ocean takes it right back piles it up again. They’ve done this three times in the last six years,” Harms said.

After piling up the sand, it has to be tested before being redistributed again, creating an eyesore for residents.

What takes months for city crews to dig up, residents say takes weeks for the ocean to reclaim again.

A fine dance between keeping the canals flowing freely but not disrupting Mother Nature’s cycle.

“I think what we are seeing is band-aid fixes. Sand being replenished from time to time, but the beach has overall over the past few years clearly been eroding,” Representative Chris Lee of the House Chair of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee said.

Lee is proposing a more permanent solution which will not continue draining taxpayers.

“We don’t know exactly what it is going to look like. But it will be based on the best science we have available. With an idea that is permanent and going to preserve our beach and give us decades more of enjoyment here in Kailua,” Rep. Lee said.

“It’s going, it’s going fast,” Kalama said.

Rep. Lee hopes to tap into some of the state’s beach restoration special fund to help pay for the studies and eventually long-term improvements.

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