Lingle Focuses on Preserving Oahu's North Shore - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lingle Focuses on Preserving Oahu's North Shore

By Paul Drewes

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Governor Linda Lingle outlines her sixth State of the State address in broad terms of what Hawaii needs to do to improve the lives of everyone.

But she also gets specific about a major issue for the North Shore of Oahu.

The governor has come up with a radical idea to protect important lands on Oahu's north shore. She says focusing our attention on this issue "now" is the right thing to do for future generations.

"I am proposing we buy the 850-acre Turtle Bay property on Oahu's North Shore," said Lingle.

This statement at the conclusion of the State of the State address has many lawmakers at the Capitol buzzing.

About the need and the possibility for even more land acquisition on Oahu's north shore.

"Our previous successes of preserving Waimea Valley and Pupukea-Paumalu and our ability to save Kukui Gardens affordable housing inspires me to believe that the Legislature and I can work with the community to make this happen," Lingle said.

Limiting growth has been a rallying point for this normally laid back rural community.

So some are ecstatic over the announcement.

"It's a big plus to preserving what we have on the north shore," said Rep. Michael Magaoay.

Speaking of big, this goal comes with a big price tag.

"We do know there is a $280 million Turtle Bay mortgage in default, 850 acres on ocean has to be close to a billion dollars worth of money we're talking about here," said Rep. Kirk Caldwell.

The governor says there are a number of creative ways the state could come up with revenue to finance the purchase.

From exchanging state lands to tax credits or even an internet fundraising campaign to save Hawaii's north shore.

But even for those who love the greenery of Oahu's north shore, it may be too big of a goal to accomplish with shrinking tax revenues and other pressing problems for the state.

The governor says there is not a specific bill for the purchase of Turtle Bay in the package of 180 bills she is submitting to the Legislature.

This will be an issue expected to be brought up with communities and lawmakers in the coming weeks.

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