(BIVN) – Access to an area known as “Mermaid Ponds” along the Puna coast is being considered for preservation, as the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission took up the recommendation at a recent meeting in Hilo.
On May 13, PONC commissioners discussed a suggestion form received from Alice Ammen concerning “Mermaid Ponds Access”, which references the TMK No. (3) 1-4-028:044, a 2.5-acre property on the makai side of Government Beach Road, just north of the Kapoho-area.
“Access is important in this area,” said commissioner Dr. Wayne Frank, who went on a site visit to the parcel. “The lava flows have cut off some of the other ways to access the ocean in that area.”
“It’s a very beautiful property,” agreed commissioner Shellie Bee Allen Naungayan, “but the one thing that really gave me pause was that it’s so close to the recent eruption. It’s really close. In other words, if the eruption were to resume, it’s really possible that this could be taken. We could lose this one, like we lost the one in Puna and then we had to take legal steps to move back from that.”
Last July, after lava from the Kīlauea eruption on the lower East Rift Zone covered Kapoho, the Hawai‘i County purchase of 300-acres of private property by the Waiʻōpae coastline was left in limbo after the land was erased off the map. The purchase – which at the time was already under contract but contingent on the state’s matching grant – was rescinded.
“It’s really sad,” said Naungayan, “but I was thinking about the last time when we purchased in Puna and we didn’t expect the eruption, and it came and took it, and I was thinking – if we do that, I think you have to pay back the money. If we receive money for this from grants and stuff we would have to pay that back. That was the thing that really made me think about it.”
The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission is currently reviewing multiple suggestions for acquisition, submitted by the public. The commission’s duty is to prioritize those lands and submit a list to the County administration as recommendations for purchase using the 2% land fund.