KONA, Hawaii – A large group of testifiers showed up to the Hawaii County Council meeting on Tuesday to voice their approval for the Kohanaiki coastal park.
The county voted to accept the 38-acre coastal park from developer Kohanaiki Shores LLC. It was the culmination of decades of litigation that in 2003 resulted in an agreement to jointly manage the park, keeping it open to the public.
Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff – who has been a part of the effort to preserve the popular shoreline that includes “Pine Trees” surf spot – co-chaired the day of discussion in Kona.
A number of individuals who were crucial in making the dedication a reality were on hand to testify.
The park has already undergone drastic changes since we were there for the blessing ceremony last year.
The access road has been paved, complete with speed bumps. Once there, another paved path leads motorists along the shore, with the beach on one side and a golf course of the other. Behind the greens: million dollar, luxury units… only seven right now, but at full build out, there should be about 500 or so.
On the beach, kapu signs are posted to preserve sensitive ecological and cultural areas. Over 120 parking spaces, a new restroom and shower area, and even a new canoe halau are among the improvements.
But not all changes are so well received. The termination of the old jeep trail at the south end of the beach is one example of the sort of thing that is not sitting well with some park users.
The disagreement has created a rift within the Kohanaiki Ohana. Some called it a bittersweet day.
The councilmembers, however, were very happy with the project, and accepted it as a model compromise.
And perhaps most importantly, the new Kohanaiki is getting the OK from Aunty Elizabeth Maluihi Lee, a treasured kupuna of the area.