(BVIN) – HICoP, the Hawaii Island Coalition Malama Pono group that wants to put a stop to constant tour helicopter noise over their homes, held a rally in Kea’au over the weekend. The non-profit used the event to inform island residents of their efforts to bring quiet back to the neighborhood skies surrounding Kilauea volcano, the Big Island’s top tourist attraction.
The HICoP group is advocating for an offshore helicopter route that encircles the entire Island of Hawaii with diversions only at Hilo and Kona airports. The route be 1 mile offshore and HICoP members say it is “the FAA solution for helicopter noise on islands.”
The event came on the heels of a meeting between Mayor Harry Kim and the helicopter tour companies, held in order to try to find an agreeable solution to the complaints from the community.
In a follow up interview, Sherry Bracken asked Mayor Kim about the meeting. The mayor told Bracken that he let the helicopter tour operators know that he loves quiet, and loves to hear the first birds in the morning.
“I wanted them to know that this is a special thing,” Kim said. “When you’re up there in the air, you kind of forget that.”
Kim said the meeting went well, and the tour helicopter companies are working on a plan to address community concerns, and they will be returning in a few weeks time.
The same day as Bracken’s interview, the mayor sent a letter to Bob Ernst and the HICoP board. The mayor wrote that he clearly indicated how he will proceed during the meeting with the helicopter companies. Kim listed:
- Request a meeting with Helicopter Tour Industry to begin dialogue with industry.
- Request organization of a program by industry to address concerns.
- Plan working group meetings of community and industry to see if anything can be addressed together.
Kim said the “first two bullets have been completed and waiting for report.”
However, there seemed to be confusion over HICoP’s proposed offshore helicopter route.
“I was not aware that at this time a definitive position was established by HICOP and believed that the desire was to see if the whole issue and proposals can be discussed to work out acceptable solutions,” Mayor Kim wrote in the Sept. 6 letter. “Your correspondence indicate otherwise. If I am incorrect, please correct me.”
“I truly feel that at this time an effort should be made to address the problem by coming together for open dialogue, regardless of past attempts. As you know, the authority of this issue is with the FAA,” Kim wrote.