Ask the Mayor: When Will La Perouse’s Road Re-Open?

May 18, 2014, 12:00 PM HST · Updated May 27, 9:47 AM
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The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: Will the La Perouse Bay road and lava field be reopened for hikers and snorkelers? It was closed years ago for studies and extensions that seem to never end. I hiked and snorkeled the area, off the road, over 20 years ago until it closed and never saw the reported damage. Parking spots on the road were closed off and hiking isn’t allowed.

File photo by Wendy Osher.

Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. File photo by Wendy Osher.

A: The ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u reserve is part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Natural Area Reserve System, which is managed by the department’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and includes 20 reserve areas throughout the state.

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According to DLNR, certain portions of the reserve at ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u remain closed, but hikers and snorkelers can still use the most easily accessed areas at Kanahena Cove, the Keone‘o‘io (La Perouse Bay) parking area and along the coastline fronting the historic village site of Moanakala (also known as the “Dumps” parking lot).

Image courtesy DLNR. Click to enlarge.

Image courtesy DLNR. Click to enlarge.

Roadside parking within the reserve has been eliminated due to traffic congestion and for pedestrian safety purposes. The 2008 closure of the most sensitive area was prompted by the human impacts of unmanaged access by 700-1,000 people daily.

Further, a recent US Army Corps of Engineers study determined that the closed sections of the reserve present public safety hazards due to unexploded ordnance from WWII, when the entire area was used as a bombing range. The closure was extended in 2010 and 2012, and extension of the closure is being supported by the ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u NAR/ Keone‘o‘io Advisory Group.

The ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u reserve, the state’s first natural reserve, was established in 1973 to protect the most recent lava flow on Maui (which occurred between 1419 and 1621 AD); some of the most pristine near-shore coral reefs in the Hawaiian islands with more than 160 species of coral, reef animals and fish; and the largest concentration of anchialine pools in the world that support seabirds, shore birds, migratory birds, native vegetation, algae, ‘opae ula and other rare organisms. To view the recently approved ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u Natural Area Reserve management plan, visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/files/2013/07/Ahihi-Kinau-NAR-Management-Plan.pdf

Q: I live in a gated condo development and we have contracted curbside recycling service. The homeowners were recently notified that “the guidelines have changed” and that metal food cans (soup, vegetables, etc.) are no longer accepted. I have not seen this update via the Maui County Residential Recycling Guidelines. Did the guidelines change since they were last published in January 2014? It seems a shame that we would no longer recycle metal/tin, and instead send those items to our landfills.

A: No, the guidelines have not changed since the winter 2014 edition— clean metal cans with the lids removed and containing no food residue can still be recycled at our County Recycling Centers. However, since there are no county ordinances requiring gated communities, condos, haulers or processors to adopt the same guidelines as the County Recycling Centers, it may be that the hauler that services your condo has elected to discontinue collecting metal cans. You may still bring rinsed, residue-free food cans (no lids) to a county recycling facility. For information on recycling at the County’s Residential Recycling Centers, HI-5 recycling and other landfill diversion programs on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, visit www.mauicounty.gov/recycling.

Q: Have you driven down Kokomo Road lately? The condition of the road is horrible and has gone with no attention for too long. I saw old discussions about this topic yet still no action has taken place. Those who have to drive this road daily know how bad it is. Please do something about this; it needs to be a top priority. This road is a safety hazard especially with the rains we have been experiencing.

A: I agree. Our Public Works engineers have been working hard to expedite this project, and we have just received a tentative Notice to Proceed for January 2015. As mentioned in a previous column, Public Works staff diligently pursued federal funding to have Kokomo Road completely rehabilitated — not just repaved. This means that about 80% of this major project will be paid for with federal funding, and the road will be totally rebuilt from the ground up.

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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