(BIVN) – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees heard about the ongoing Kīlauea eruption recovery effort during its recent meeting in Hilo.
One year ago, the 35 year-long eruption of Kīlauea came to an end, after a destructive finale in the summer of 2018 that destroyed over 700 structures in Puna.
The Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School was one the buildings taken by lava. The Head of School, Susie Osborne, told the OHA Trustees the school is currently using the Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo, and working on the long-term recovery goal of finding a permanent facility.
“We’re furiously working with all the agencies”, said Osborne, “At some point, when our charter contract goes in for renewal, I might need to ask the building department chair for a letter saying that everything’s in process. I’m just not sure how that’s going to play out, but it could mean the difference of staying open or closing for the school.”
Robert Agres of the Hawaii County recovery team spent minutes explaining the recovery process and the work of the Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee.
“It’s a unique opportunity that this gift that Tutu Pele provided to us gives us a chance to step back, and again, to bounce forward,” Agres said. “To push on stuff that we never could before, because there’s resources like we’ve never seen.”
“We are very cognizant of the Community Development Plans for Puna,” Lee loy said, “along with a tool coming forward in our general plan that we can begin to start truly recovering Puna.”
Lee Loy said there “may be opportunities for OHA to fill in the gaps where private sector government or community really cannot fill.”
“Yes, the thousand homes is a lot,” said Mayor Harry Kim, talking about the destruction of the entire 35 year eruption. “Yes, thousands and thousands of acres is a lot. But to me, what was more important, is a lifestyle that I don’t think can ever be recovered.”