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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 21, 2024

A hawksbill turtle illustrates a petition to oppose resort development at Punalu'u. The petition addressed to Black Sand
Beach, LLC had gathered more than 300 names as of Wednesday evening. See the petition at

AN ONLINE PETITION OPPOSING RESORT DEVELOPMENT AT PUNALU'U has collected more than 300 signatures. The care2 petition was initiated last week by Manu Kane, a Navy veteran who grew up in Waimanalo and lives in Ocean View. He wrote, "Please Sign & Share ...This is the Oldest District in Hawai'i... The Polynesians landed here in 800 AD and migrated to all of the other Islands from Ka'ū. It Should be Designated as a Conservation Area...Not another place to get a Big Mack." Kane is also instrumental in producing the Kaʻū Bulletin Board at https://www.facebook.com/groups/164789540645777.
    The petition is at https://www.thepetitionsite.com/854/086/898/residents-who-oppose-the-resort-in-punaluu-ka%C5%AB/?fbclid=IwAR0OnEoqALqNKOs5HUCfxt5wtHg37qpMbYkAQTW_DfGgEIF3Y6OAeWMplSs.
    The petition says the recipient is Black Sand Beach, LLC., the entity asking for a Special Management Area permit to take the next step in its plan for the accommodations and other commercial enterprise, restoration of the golf course, as well as an area set aside for conservation. A public hearing on the matter will be held at Hilo County Council Chambers beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 7. Read the notice with options to testify by zoom and watch via YouTube at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/WebLink/1/edoc/128532/2024-03-07%

Greg Owen at the entrance to Punalu'u with his signs is moderator of
facebook group ETA Hawai'i-EnoughTourists Already. The photo was recently
 posted on Kaʻū Bulletin Board facebook

   While the title of the petition is "Residents Who Oppose the Resort in Punalu'u Kaʻū," the text associated with the petition addresses all of Ka'ū, saying:
    "Building a resort in Ka'ū, Hawai'i may negatively affect the local environment and community. Ka'ū is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse ecosystem, and the construction of a resort could lead to habitat destruction, and pollution. The planned resort also contains a Nesting site for the Federally and Internationally protected Endangered Hawksbill Turtle, Hawaiian Monk Seals as well as the Endangered Hawaiian Nene Geese. Additionally, it may put a strain on local resources and infrastructure, potentially causing disruptions to the way of life for residents. Furthermore, the influx of tourists that a resort would bring could lead to overcrowding and put additional pressure on the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Overall, the construction of a resort in Ka'ū may not be in the best interest of preserving the unique natural and cultural heritage of the region and the people that call this home."
    Petition signers are from Japan to Europe and the U.S. mainland, with most in Hawai'i. Some of those signing the petition chose not to have their names displayed, and some have made comments and are
identified by first names and last name initials. Among those who signed in as being from Hawai'i:
    DWN K wrote, "I oppose!! I’m born n raised in Ka’u. We no like your development here. Leave our aina alone."
    Keala K. wrote, "I oppose all development for resorts in Punalu'u, Ka'u."
    Tahnee Y. wrote, "I love Punalu'u. Please help keep it from development."
    Jonette K. wrote, "Punalu’u beach area should never be made into a resort. It is one of the few family areas to enjoy here in Ka’u district. It would be a travesty to remove one of the very few places for locals to use."
    Cam H. wrote, "No development period."
    Chelsae K. wrote, "Ka'u is special and beautiful for its raw untouched beauty. An important resource to locals and a refuge to all endangered animals such as the honu, monk seal and whales. Leave it alone. Or make positive changes such as addressing the horrible sewage problem."
    Kamaka P. wrote, "Hawai’i does not need more tourism or resorts that bring tourism. We need our lands to remain undeveloped to sustain communities. Get creative on how to create an economy."
    Keke M. wrote: "Enough is enough! If you’re on that Moku you guys need to stop it before it turns into another exploited Moku like Oʻahu. The cement island. Take notes at what they did here to O'ahu. Don’t let them have their way over there!!!! Rise up!!!! Make all those tourists and transplants uncomfortable!!!! They’ll take and continue to steal your homes! Heed My Words. We live it. We know. Stop them at all cost before it’s all gone!"
    Ellen L. wrote: "Affordable housing, accessible and real jobs are what is needed on this Island not another resort for tourists to visit their Disneyland version of Hawai'i."
    Naomi S. wrote, "We are Absolutely not in for any-type of development keep Ka’u Ka’u. it is more than just a place or piece of land that you can strip from us locals! Or build enormous buildings just to gain money so you could bring many other people here that aren’t local. It’s gonna end up just like O'ahu! Corrupt! Ka’u is the “Breast of our goddess Pele, 'sacred.' We are what nurtured everywhere else !!! Imagine what damage you would bring to our lovely small community how much loss will come out of it our lands filled with cement, concrete roads , traffic , stop lights , traffic jams. I can name multiple reasons why I’m not for it ! Ka’u to me and my 'Ohana is the last town that isn’t ruined yet because it hasn’t had someone come to do so until now but that’s my opinion and believe me I have more but for now that’s it. Thank you."

Read the notice of the March 7 public hearing on plans for Punalu'u with
options to testify by zoom and watch via YouTube at

    Leslie Kaialiʻi M. wrote, "I oppose the development of Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach. Care for the infrastructure: the water, the roads, sewer system not build things up to cater to more tourists that are flooding into the islands. Not to mention how will this affect the wildlife? The fishermen? The native people of Kaʻū? Who will be telling the moʻolelo of Kaʻū? Will it be accurate? This plan will change the landscape of Kaʻū and generations of its people to come. ʻAʻole! This is hewa!"
    Heather H. wrote, "I Usually reside on the big island and will return home soon. I believe that Punaluu, Kau is a sacred place and that building a resort there would cause irreparable damage to the land, beaches, and especially the sea life. Not to mention the attraction of tourist who would most likely disrupt the many Hounus found there almost constantly resting on the beaches. I vote No! Not to mention it's the southern part of the Big Island and still beautiful and wild and still has hope not to become another Kona or Hilo. Let's keep the south part of the Big Island just the way it is, rural and wild. I also believe that the attraction of tourist to that area would cause the cost of living to go up for the locals and make it even more difficult for locals to afford land, and or rent or buy homes. Which let's face it. It is already expensive on all of Hawaii and it's a struggle just to get by. By attracting more tourists to that area by building a resort I do not believe it would be good for the environment or the local community as a whole. Kau is the most beautiful part of the Big Island because it is rural, country and where the locals can grow and profit from their businesses, not from some corporate company that doesn't respect the native Hawaiian culture, ecosystem and way of life."
    Linda C. wrote, "I’m against any development in the district of Ka’u, it’s sacred land !! Land of the sea turtles, lands of final resting place, freshwater, all the special places along our kau coastline !! Keep it country !! Go way north if you like to build !! I’m for no development and will always vote for no development in the Kau district !! Mahalo."
    Alexis K. wrote. "I strongly oppose this development plan for Punalu'u. Ka'ū is the last place on the island we have that doesn't have a hotel. We want to keep it that way. Listen to the people. The majority say NO. "

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands. 

FRIENDS OF KAʻŪ LIBRARIES ANNUAL MEETING will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at Pāhala Library. The organization is a nonprofit affiliate of Friends of the Library of Hawai'i. The Annual Membership Meeting will include election of Officers and Board of Directors. Light refreshments will be served. Current board members are President Deborah Lynn Dickerson, Vice President Joe Demoruelle and Secretary/Treasurer Debbie Wong Yuen.