Canoe paddlers rallied at the Capitol to speak out against a proposed development on Sand Island.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources wants to build a marina at Sand Island Ocean Recreation Park. The project includes shops and slips for 400 boats.
Paddler Makaloa Yim said, "It' not just saving the paddling site it's saving fish ponds, saving the culture, it's saving everything that evolves around the Sand Island."
Paddlers said Sand Island is an ideal location to practice, the water is flat and safe. But they say having boats in the same area will change that. Paddlers said boats could put their safety at risk, and that is the main reason why they don't want the marina built.
Rendell Bourg, who is against the marina project, said, "We have thought of all kinds of ideas where they can put a marina somewhere except our front door."
But a DLNR spokesperson said the marina is a critical component that could provide millions in funding for the department. At a community meeting Tuesday people presented alternatives for the recreation area that they believe could still generate revenue for the state.
State Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland said, "It includes softball, it includes soccer, BMX, jet skiing, there's surfing and fishing that goes on, so what we are trying to do is pull all of those things together."
But the DLNR said the marina is mostly likely going to stay in the plan.
"I'm responsible to all ocean users not just canoe paddlers so I think it's possible to have both a facility that allows for canoe paddling as well as a marina," said William Aila Jr. with DLNR.
There are about 700 paddlers that use the area to practice. The DLNR said paddlers will still have a chance to weigh in on the plans at many additional community meetings.