Ask Mayor: White Rock Surveys; Lifeguard Tower Demolition

October 14, 2013, 4:32 PM HST · Updated October 20, 11:53 PM
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The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Q: We went to Palauea Beach (aka “White Rock” -Ed.) yesterday and saw survey stakes and orange fencing that had been put up around two small areas. I remember the public’s fight to save Palauea years ago, and read that the county was able to buy two lots. What is the county’s plan for the lots it purchased, and will the other lots eventually have more mega-mansions, thereby losing another beach? Thank you.

A: The county did indeed acquire two parcels at Palauea Beach. According to our Planning Department, the county does not have plans to purchase additional parcels in the area, or to make any improvements there (e.g. parking, restrooms) but it is my understanding that the public nonetheless uses these county-owned lots to access and enjoy the beach. Some privately-owned and undeveloped lots have received some of the necessary permits to build homes, so it is possible that there will be homes built in the future; there are also ongoing archaeological and environmental surveys being conducted in the area as part of the permitting process. Either of these actions could be the reason for the orange fencing.

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Q: On October 8 or 9, the Lifeguard station at DT Fleming’s beach was scheduled to be demolished. This station in particular is an icon in our small Westside community, as it bears a mural of a beloved long-time resident who passed away in 2007, Ron Cassidy.

DT Flemming Beach. File photo courtesy XTERRA.

DT Flemming Beach. File photo courtesy XTERRA.

This may not seem an important issue in the big scheme of things but to people who frequent this location and live in our community, it is. Is there a way the mural can be saved? Thank you for your time and consideration.

A: Thank you for asking about this, as I have heard a lot of misinformation being circulated in the community. Over three years ago, several county lifeguards asked our Risk Management Division to inspect the tower for safety considerations. After the inspection, Risk Management recommended the replacement of the tower with a new tower similar to the other portable towers in use in Maui County. To keep the public and our lifeguards safe, a new, state-of-the-art tower was requisitioned and purchased, and in fact was specially designed by the manufacturer as a new, larger-capacity model called the “Maui Tower.” The tower has been delivered to DT Fleming Beach and is being installed, with all logistics planned to allow work crews to carry out the demolition, delivery and installation of the new tower in a timely and coordinated manner. As for the beautiful mural painted by acclaimed local artist Ronaldo Macedo, it was carefully removed prior to demolition, and plans are being made for the permanent installation of this meaningful tribute to a beloved member of our community. To view photos of the mural and the new tower, visit my blog on the County website: www.mauicounty.gov/mayor; click on “Mayor’s Update.”

Q: Do you know which stretches of Kamehameha Avenue, Hina, Papa, Wakea, etc. will be improved with Federal Aid funds for reconstruction?

Wakea Avenue roadwork in September 2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Wakea Avenue roadwork in September 2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

A: Yes, the first Federal Aid-funded pavement rehabilitation project was on Lono Ave. and ran between Kamehameha Ave. and La‘au Street; it was completed in September 2012. Motorists may have noticed work recently on the second project, on Wakea Ave. between Pu‘unene Ave. and Ka‘ahumanu Ave. The project is expected to be completed in December 2013. Also currently under construction is the Kamehameha and Hina project; targeted completion is January 2014. Papa Ave. will be reconstructed next year, as well as Wakea Ave. (continuation) and Wells Street. Additionally, Lono Ave. Phase 2 is currently being designed, with an expected construction start date of January 2015. All of these projects incorporate full-depth reconstruction (about 14 inches deep), which typically adds 15-20 years of extended life span to the roads compared to standard overlays. To view a map of these pavement rehabilitation projects being conducted on some of Maui’s most heavily-used roads, visit www.mauicounty.gov/Mayor and click on “Mayor’s Update.”

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

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