State releases funds for community- based plan, maintenance at Lipoa Point
WEST MAUI – With funds secured late in the 2016 Legislative Session, Gov. David Ige recently released $500,000 to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to help maintain and sustain Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point.
West Maui/Kihei Rep. Angus McKelvey (10th District) is grateful; he was weaned in the waters off Honolua.
“I want to thank Gov. Ige for releasing these funds, so that we can engage in the beginning stages of developing a community plan (for Honolua) and also to ensure that access and safety is preserved for the public until the community can come together for (a) unified vision of what Lipoa Point should be.”
Napili resident Les Potts is the bay caretaker, hands-on, and knows where the money should go.
“I say about $60,000 to trim the forest; about $8,000 to put 40 tons of gravel on the trail, with a liner underneath; about $12,000 on the (Surfers’ Access) road; and $10,000 we could use for dumpsters.”
Tamara Paltin is the leader of the Save Honolua Coalition (SHC), an environmental group advocating for the preservation of the bay, with a mission “to maintain open space, public access and revitalize the ecosystem of the Ahupua’a of Honolua through community-based management utilizing Hawaiian practices and values.”
“DLNR plans tentatively to spend $150,000 on maintenance and liability/safety-type issues – once they prioritize and budget – and $300,000 on planning,” she said.
“I believe they have hired Planning Consultants Hawaii to do some scoping planning (Mike and John Summers),” she noted. “SHC also has done our own scoping planning and submitted to DLNR and the Summers brothers (twins),” as well.
“SHC hopes to get info on each step of the process and meet with our community ahead of formal agency public meetings to guide our community members on how to most effectively provide input,” the nonprofit president explained.
With the input from a diverse group of stakeholders, McKelvey advised, “I’m confident a roadmap towards creating a process for a truly representative community plan can be achieved.”
“Our West Maui legislators have pulled through on this issue,” Paltin observed, “from the purchase of this property for conservation and now funding maintenance and planning. I’m grateful they realize how important Honolua is to us, and that they continue to step up and help our community.”
Potts remembers back in the day, “scolding Angus when he was a kid surfing the bay. He never lets me forget about it, and he never forgot the bay.
“When everybody was debating the fate of the bay, he calmly came by the meetings; and, when things fell apart, he asked me if I could set up a lunch with Ryan Churchill, Angus and myself. We met at Duke’s, and soon we had lunches in Duke’s room with members of SHC, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Maui Land and Pine. Long story short, if it wasn’t for Angus, it would have never happened.”
But the state lawmaker is humble. “The future of Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point is and always has been about the community,” he concluded.