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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, April 14, 2022

Only the handicapped, lei stand vendors, lifeguards and emergency vehicles are allowed on
the sandy parking at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. Photo by Bob Martin

NO PARKING ON THE BEACH AT PUNALU'U became a community topic of discussion on Wednesday and Thursday, as visitors and kama'aina were directed to a parking lot mauka of the shoreline. 
    With everyone accustomed to parking on the sand adjacent to the beach and along the adjacent roadside,
the new boulders and signage that block parking drew numerous comments to The Kaʻū Calendar and other area facebook pages.
    It also drew questions exchanged verbally among Kaʻū residents, including: Is this the beginning of a new round of preparing for commercial development near the shore? What will happen to the area being cleaned up? Will it be a park or commercial enterprise, or both? Does the exemption from the Special Management Area permit for cleaning up and making repairs allow all the work being done without additional permits?
    What about the lei stands at the beach? Will the lei stand families who have depended on their beachfront enterprise for generations be allowed to stay? Will their their volunteer lifeguards, who for generations were the only lifeguards at Punalu'u and still do make rescues after county lifeguard hours - Will they be able to keep their presence at the beach?

Boulders block roadside parking near Punalu'u Black Sand Beach.
Photo by Bob Martin
    What about the boat ramp? Will locals head for the boat ramp to park, overwhelming that area? Will the boat ramp area eventually be blocked from parking, camping and picnicking as well?
    Will everyone be charged at the parking lot or kama'aina get a discount or a pass?
    Here are some of the comments posted on The Kaʻū Calendar and other area facebook pages:
    Kelly Clark said the developer is "trying to push this development through on a 1980 Environmental Impact Study," and pointed to other developments on the Hawai'i Island coast, such as the Four Seasons and at Pine Trees "just to name a few." Clark predicted that the resources and turtles will be exploited "for financial gain."
    A couple called Ray N Christy on their facebook page posted that pulling the parking off the beach and nearby roadside - "That's actually a good thing. But check out Punalu'u community page and see what's really brewing," referring to development plans that have been presented to the community over the last six months.
    Emmet Enriques wrote, "Sad that locals not only just lost access but also will be charged in the future… and didn’t even get the opportunity for input." Curtis Sharp replied, "Hapuna Beach charges but not if you're a resident (hi. driers license). Enriques replied, "Exactly. Punalu'u is turning into another Hapuna."
    Echo Love wrote, "A well managed parking lot is what’s essential to ensure safety and convenience for both the locals and visitors coming to the beach. Parking fee is not a big deal in my humble opinion, especially it goes towards a non profit."
Newly painted parking stalls and curbs at the old parking lot where beachgoers
 are directed to leave their vehicles at Punalu'u. Photo by Bob Martin
  Alberto Benovia said, "Kanaka wale no." Kawai Kanawaliwali wrote, "Pushing out the kanakas."
    Laura Wong wrote, "Time to initiate Traditional Access To Coast protections..To ensure that public pathways to the coast are protected. Check out the evolution of private land owners slowly but surely blocking all public access to shoreline on O'ahu and on Maui.
    "The police are routinely called to disputes and physical altercation between property owners and swimmers at a place known as ‘Portlock’ on O'ahu. I grew up surfing swimming and hiking on that shoreline in the 1970’s.
    "Prior to that land privatization, first Hawaiian and then over the years other local people too - went
The old path from parking lot to the beach 
has been uncovered. Photo by Bob Martin
fishing and swimming and surfing there. Now the owners of the land fronting that coastline have gated and walled off all access to the shore that fronts their private property. The owners of that land touching public shoreline claim that the public may not access the shore over their property- the county failed to protect access to that shoreline by not upholding the traditional access points used by pedestrians for hundreds of years."
    Manu Kane posted: "Another Cheap Shot at Punalu'u Beach.. Apparently the foreign investors have blocked areas where we used to park and are now funneling locals and tourists to a lot where you're going to have to pay."
    Sophia Hanoa posted, "The people of Ka'ū. No parking signs at Punaluʻu lei stand area are for the safety of everyone. Alternate parking areas are provided. Emergency vehicles and Handicap parking will have access to the area. With an influx of tourists, something had to be done. So please help to support the safety of all, especially our children and elderly."
    Timothy Totten said, "Expansion of the County Beach parking would seem appropriate at this juncture."
    Larry Cush said, "I'm happy to see a parking lot. However, I cringed to hear they are going add a fee for parking. The big boulders seem heavy handed to me. Couldn't there be a way that is more welcoming? Perhaps add fees for commercial bus and tour parking only. Please remember this is about showing caring and inclusive change for the community not just commercial interest!"
    Deborah Ward wrote, "The turtles laying eggs were impacted by the vehicles and disrupted access to the ocean. I think will be an improvement long time coming."

 To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano

Volcano Students talking about Farm in a Box kits are Kalia Andrade,
 Lahela Hanoa, Aliyah Gayacan, of Na'alehu. Photo by Barbara Sarbin
VOLCANO SCHOOL OF THE ARTS & SCIENCES GAVE FREE FARM IN A BOX KITS at ʻO Kaʻū Kākou's  Nāʻālehu Market on Wednesday. Volcano School 's eighth grade Permaculture and Civics students prepared the kits. Fifty resident families were were treated to packages of organic soil, fertilizer, pea, lettuce, and beet seeds, and a large pot, all sourced from McCall’s Farm in Volcano. Students also supplied instructions to successfully plant and grow the veggies at home.
    This initiative was the culminating event for the students’ studies of Food Justice, which taught the importance of equal access to healthy food in the community. The students visited local farms and ranches to learn about sustainable agriculture and small-scale backyard family farming, including McCall’s Farm in Volcano, Punachicks Farm in Kurtistown, Mana’o Farm and Kuahiwi Ranch in Nāʻālehu.
    As part of this project, students researched the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, gave presentations on each one to inform their classmates about solutions to these global issues, and participated in a UNICEF Hunger Banquet to bring alive the real situation of World Hunger.

Volcano School students assembling Farm in a Box kits are Kamaehu Guerpo-Craft
 of Pāhala, Raedyn Breihaupt-Louis, Lahela Hanoa, Mackenzie DeCoito, of Nāʻālehu.
Photo by Barbara Sarbin
    The eighth graders also engaged in the Global Run Project, wearing pedometers throughout the school day to try to collect as many steps and miles as possible. A nonprofit charitable organization, Something Good in the World, donated $1 for each mile that the students walked, ran, jumped, and danced. Students said they really enjoyed seeing how many steps and miles they could get each day, and ended up with over 200 miles, raising enough funding to create the 50 Farm-in-a-Box kits.
    The eighth graders worked hard to package the soil and fertilizer. They sorted seeds, decorated labels and instructions, and were excited to spend more than five hours at the Farmer’s Market in Nāʻālehu. Residents approached their booth to ask questions and receive the free kits to support food security by growing their own organic, healthy vegetables at home.
    Many adults commented to the youth about the importance of their community service project and said they were impressed with the students' knowledge of food justice at such a young age. “You are the future,” said one resident who supported their work with a donation towards the project. Their teacher Barbara Sarbin said the students "are the future…now."

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals studied by Volcano School of Arts & Sciences students.

 To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano
See The Ka'u Calendar April edition at 
on newsstands and in the mail.