North Shore community discusses legislation to deal with beach erosion

North Shore community discusses legislation to deal with beach erosion

SUNSET BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This year's winter swell season on Oahu's North Shore was a busy one for big waves that threatened homes. Community members, scientists and an area lawmaker are discussing the possibility that the threat will be a part of the season from now on.

Home along Ke Nui Road at Rocky point were threatened by beach erosion. Scientists from the Sea Grant College at the University of Hawaii believe that the sand will be taken away next year, and again the year after that.

"Let's put it this way: Science indicates that the situation isn't going to get better, it's going to get worse," said Sen. Clayton Hee (D-Kaneohe/Kahuku/Haleiwa/Wahiawa).

Hee met with North Shore community members to discuss putting together a master plan for the shoreline from Haleiwa to Kahuku to deal with sea level rises and the resulting beach erosion.

The erosion problem isn't just threatening homes. It also could speed up a solution to another problem at Laniakea, where barriers were put up to keep people from parking and crossing the highway to get to the beach, where turtles often rest. While the parking and crossing caused a traffic problem, erosion will be a bigger factor for moving the highway, said residents.

"Everyone who drives by Laniakea can see that the rocks are exposed to the wash of the waves, and the waves and the sand overtop the highway, so it's just a matter of time before we lose a vital highway for the North Shore and for the entire island," said environmental attorney and North Shore resident Denise Antolini.

Hee has introduced a measure to move Kamehameha Highway inland and create a park on the makai side, a plan that many have supported. Hee doesn't believe moving the highway will be that complicated, despite having a private landowner involved.

"We've already had discussions with Kamehameha Schools, and they understand that," said Hee. "They're the only landowner that has to be dealt with in this particular situation, and they understand that they are part of the solution."

Hee's measures are currently before the senate Ways and Means Committee. He said realistically, it would still take seven years or more to move the highway.

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