Board Takes Action Following New Information Shared Publicly
(HONOLULU, HI – April 21, 2022) – During its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board (KNB) unanimously passed a resolution which calls for halting the City and County’s (C&C) Haʻikū Stairs demolition plans. Recently revealed facts include the City Council’s unexplained 30% demolition budget increase, inaccurate placement of these funds in the wrong budget, the absence of a plan to address serious issues raised in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including safety risks and environmental concerns, and other unaccounted for costs. The resolution (attached below) seeks a one-year hiatus from the City’s demolition efforts to carefully address the above concerns and to allow a grassroots solution to develop to manage the Stairs rather than destroy them under community, non-profit stewardship.
“We appreciate that the members of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board were alerted to the concerns over what appears to be a rushed decision by the City and County to begin a project with inadequate planning and no cap on the budget,” said Sean Pager, president, Friends of Haʻikū Stairs (FHS). “The Board’s resolution also recognizes that a community-driven process to develop an alternative solution to preserve the Stairs while addressing trespassing and liability concerns is well underway.”
FHS and local stakeholders are working on a community-driven plan to restore limited access to the Stairs in a way that bypasses residential neighborhoods and prevents disruption to homeowners; operates the Stairs in a safe, environmentally sustainable, and culturally respectful manner, entails $0 cost and 0 liability for the City and County; and forms part of a broader kuleana vision for restoration of the valley under non-profit stewardship.
The Resolution will be submitted to Mayor and full City Council. Additional strong community support in favor of retaining the Stairs was confirmed:
September 29, 2021, Kaneohe-resident based Facebook Group survey, “You know you are from Kaneohe if…” showed 344 in favor of keeping the Stairs to 167 opposed to keeping the Stairs (full poll available to media upon request)
September 2021: 1336 residents, representing more than 90 percent of public comments received, testified or submitted testimony opposing the C&C’s demolition plan during a City Council hearing.
June 5, 2017: KNB passes first resolution supporting the reopening of the Haʻikū Stairs under a managed access plan. (resolution attached)
February 15, 2015: Honolulu Star-Advertiser The Big Q Poll revealed a clear majority favored preservation over demolition.
“Repeatedly, the majority of the public is telling our elected officials to retain the Haʻikū Stairs, the EIS points to glaring concerns, and frankly, I am not certain what data was used in the recent Council decision to demolish them and commit taxpayer money,” said Pager. “We are asking our elected leaders to step back, address the serious risks and concerns raised by demolition and fully account for them in their budgeting. Once the true costs are known, we are confident the City will come to the table and work with the community on a collaborative, managed access plan that solves the problem without burdening taxpayers.”
The Friends of Haʻikū Stairs is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) is a nonprofit group that was formed in 1987. Its mission is to protect the historic Haʻikū Stairs and its environment for current and future generations. In the stair’s 80-year history there have been no liability suits filed against the City and County of Honolulu and there have been no fatalities or serious injuries.