Tree-plant­ing High­lights Re­sort Agree­ment

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Islander - By CAROL CHANG

Though small in sym­bolic terms, the new hala tree at Kawela Bay rep­re­sents the end of a long strug­gle to free up hun­dreds of acres of shore­line for preser­va­tion, for­ever.

Though much re­mains to be done — con­ven­tion cen­ter re­fi­nanc­ing, fundrais­ing, un­der­writ­ing bonds, and ap­prais­ing the 665.8acre con­ser­va­tion ease­ment — House Bill 2434 be­comes the law of the land July 1.

“It ac­counts for so many di­verse voices in its ful­fill­ment,” said Tur­tle Bay Re­sort CEO Drew Stotesbury of the ease­ment, “from our top lead­ers in govern­ment to the kupuna and life­long Koolauloa res­i­dents, all of whom only want what’s best for the North Shore and its fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.” Through the com­plex ne­go­ti­a­tion process, he noted, the re­sort has agreed to re­duce its ho­tel and hous­ing plans to 20 per­cent of its orig­i­nal per­mit, though the job out­look for lo­cal res­i­dents re­mains good.

The state will buy the ease­ment for $48.5 mil­lion with help from the city and The Trust for Pub­lic Land.

The indige­nous hala tree, ideal for sta­bi­liz­ing sandy soil, was planted May 19 by six key play­ers in the process, who also signed the bill that day at the idyl­lic bay site: Gov. Neil Abercrombie, state Sen. Clay­ton Hee (Heeia, Laie, Wa­ialua), TPL’s Lea Hong, city chief of staff Ray Soon, Doug Cole of North Shore Com­mu­nity Land Trust, and Stotesbury. North Shore mu­sic and a bless­ing rounded out the pro­gram.

Fol­low­ing the of­fi­cial sign­ing of HB 2434 (Act 81, to pre­serve per­ma­nently 665.8 acres of Tur­tle Bay property from de­vel­op­ment), a hala tree was planted May 19 at Kawela Bay by (from right) Gov. Neil Abercrombie, state Sen. Clay­ton Hee, city chief of staff Ray Soon, Lea Hong of The Trust for Pub­lic Land, Doug Cole of North Shore Com­mu­nity Land Trust, and Tur­tle Bay Re­sort CEO Drew Stotesbury. Sim­i­lar hala tree plant­ings took place at Kahuku Point to cre­ate a sym­bolic con­nec­tion be­tween the re­sort’s open lands. Photo from Tur­tle Bay Re­sort.

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