Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar

HILO, Hawaii: After a lengthy debate on Tuesday, The Hawaii County Council’s Finance Committee gave a positive recommendation to the taking of the Papaikou Mill beach access trail through eminent domain.

The meeting was held in Kona, but some councilmembers attended by videoconferencing from the Hilo councilchambers.

The vote was six in favor, none against… Brenda Ford and Donald Ikeda voted kanalua twice, which – despite reservations – gets counted as a yes vote.

Afterwards, we spoke to Tony Guiteras, a longtime resident of Papaikou. Guiteras has been a vocal supporter of the resolution, which was introduced by Council Chair Dominic Yagong. He has also spoken up at many of the recent public meetings on the subject.

Despite his passion for a public trail, Guiteras says the act of eminent domain is a slippery slope.

Owners James Waugh and Charlene Prickett are getting one more chance to meet with the residents of Papaikou in an attempt to smooth things over before the vote at the full council a few weeks from now.

But ultimately, many community members – like Guiteras – hope to see the popular pathway made public, once and for all.