Grantham rebuts County concerns on Peahi acquisition

Regarding County purchase of land for open space on
Hamakualoa coast – aka Puniawa to Peahi
The county’s concerns over liability in such a large public area can be resolved through transfer of ownership to a nonprofit corporation, while the County retains a conservation easement to make sure the land remains dedicated to the purposes for which it was purchased.
The HILT land trust has offered support and technical assistance for purchase of this land and would likely be willing to hold the easement if the county did not want to. A nonprofit landowner would probably qualify for protection under the state’s open space laws. The nonprofit would also carry liability insurance anyway.
Regarding infrastructure, there are already quite a few roads from plantation days that can be maintained.
This is a rainy area and catchment water supplies are common. Catchment for agriculture is also practical. Solar panels and windmills are successfully providing power along the North Shore, and newer batteries offer reliable, safer storage.
Cell phones and satellite dishes already provide communication, internet and television services. Wi-Fi networks are practical within the area.
And there is existing municipal power and water infrastructure not very far away.
Great economic, cultural and recreational potential exists for these lands. Activity at Twin Falls indicates tremendous unmet need for natural recreational areas for residents and visitors alike. Hamakualoa lands could easily provide safe and scenic bike trails for both residents and visitors. A bus stop would offer easy hiking and strolling options.
Hamakualoa, sometimes called the “Heart of Haiku”, could provide centers for Hawaiian culture and history, including plantation history. There are over 100 recorded cultural sites here, including two heiau on these lands.
The lands could provide a center for community agriculture in Haiku, with research on self-sufficiency and new markets, while growing food that can be distributed in the community.
They can provide a needed example of how large public lands can generate income for their own management and maintenance. Some ways to do this, in which people with business or activity experience have already indicated interest, are:
• The existing annual Peahi/Jaws international surf competition.
• A green cemetery.
• A North Shore Biathalon annual signature event.
• Income from farm leases.