By Wendy Osher
The $11.2 million Haiku Fire Station proposed for construction in 2012 would feature two off-site wind turbines, a heli-pad and plantation style structure on six acres of land in the ahupuaa of Pauwela.
The features and sustainable design elements were included in a 492-page Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) filed by the Department of Fire and Public Safety yesterday. Plans call for the construction of a 7,528 square foot low-rise structure, that would be staffed by an estimated five personnel.
The new station is proposed for location across the street from the Valley Isle Memorial Park Cemetery, mauka of the Hana Highway at the East Kuiaha Road intersection. The property has been vacant for about a decade, but was once used for pineapple production in the early 1900’s. It was also the site of a home in later years and most recently served as the home of a nursery operation.
The green design features include two off-site vertical axis, 35-foot wind turbines that would generate electricity to offset energy requirements of the proposed station. The sustainable element is among a list outlined as the project seeks LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council program.
The project also features an ecological wastewater treatment system, allowing for the reuse of the treated effluent for irrigation of landscaping within the property, and reducing potable water consumption at the site.
The proposed Haiku Fire Station also features a helicopter landing pad to facilitate civil defense, training, rescue and firefighting operations in Central Maui and surrounding areas.
Response times to the public would be shorter and deployment of emergency vehicles more efficient, under the proposed plan, according to the DEA. Both are considered critical elements, given the area’s limitations for access and the prevalence of wood structures throughout.
While commercial and residential areas of Paia have adequate fire protection, large areas beyond Haiku do not, according to the DEA document. Fire incidents in Haiku currently require response from either the Paia station located six miles to the west, or the Makawao station, located eight miles to the south. The document described both stations as undersized in meeting the increasing needs of the outlying rural communities of Haiku, Pauwela and Peahi.
The region experienced a 52 percent increase in population between 1990 and 2000. As of 2010, the population in the Paia-Haiku region had grown to 12,525 people, and projections from the county planning department had indicated continued growth to 13,168 people by 2020.
There is an anticipated finding of No Significant Impact according to the DEA document. Public comment on the document is being accepted through February 6, 2011. Comments can be sent to: the Determination Agency (County of Maui, Dept of Fire and Public Safety, 200 Dairy Road, Kahului, HI 96732) and Consultant (Munekiyo & Hiraga, Inc., 305 High Street, Suite 104, Wailuku, HI 96793).
Pending permit approvals, entitlements, and zoning changes, construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2012, with completion projected in the fourth quarter of 2012.