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Correct access issues during the Kaanapali Beach Restoration project

By Staff | Aug 9, 2018

In 1970, the Office of Environmental Quality Control was established “to help stimulate, expand and coordinate efforts to determine and maintain the optimum quality of the environment of the State (HRS 341).”

It publishes twice monthly “The Environmental Notice” (oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/) on the 8th and 23rd, keeping the community informed on some of the actions undergoing environmental review, including habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements, coastal zone and shoreline notices and federal EAs and EISs.

You can go to their website and ask for the monthly notices to be sent automatically; it will help you to become mostly aware of what might be happening in your own backyard.

Their online library is a reference treasure-trove of draft and final environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, as well as withdrawals, acceptances and supplemental determinations.

The July 23 edition announced the onset of the environmental review process for the Kaanapali Beach Restoration and Berm Enhancement (KBRBE) project, the Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notification (EISPN).

The State of Hawaii and members of the Kaanapali Operators Association (KOA) are sharing in the $9,275,000 project price tag.

Although the beach and shoreline are located in the State Conservation District and are deemed public land; as taxpayers, we are equal opportunity investors along with the hotels, restaurants and shopping centers.

Although it doesn’t need to be said, WE ALL OWN THE BEACH! Public access and public beach parking should be guaranteed, monitored and enforced with strict penalties imposed for non-compliance. Conditions, like these, should be included in the language of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and final approval granted by the Maui Planning Commission.

Moreover, there might be marine and other environmental concerns from community scientists that need to be addressed as well.

Safety hazards at Hanakao’o Beach Park (Canoe Beach), with propelled dinghies launching on and off the beach next to our young paddlers and swimmers, are a huge concern.

Comments on the EISPN are now being taken. The deadline is Aug. 22.

This is just step one. There will also be a Draft Environmental Assessment; the public can comment on that document as well.

According to OEQC staff, “every comment that comes in needs a response.”

En masse, we will make a difference if we start NOW.

The approving authority is the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Sam Lemmo, at (808) 587-0577 or sam.j.lemmo@hawaii.gov.

The lead consultant at Sea Engineering Inc., Chris Conger, can be e-mailed at cconger@seaengineering.com.

WE HAVE OUR RIGHTS! Now is the opportune time to have our voices heard. (By Louise Rockett)