HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The owners of Haiku Stairs, also known as “Stairway to Heaven,” made yet another pitch at the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board meeting Thursday evening to remove the nearly 4,000 steps above Heeia.
The draft environmental impact statement also offers alternatives, including a partial removal or giving the land to another group to managing public access.
Kaneohe Neighborhood Board members reaffirmed what they've said for years, they want the stairs to stay.
"We'd like to see a managed access plan, if we could open up access and still be able to protect the neighborhood,” said Chair Mo Radke. “Mayor Caldwell recently said it's something he'd like to take over and give it to the Department of Parks and Recreation for them to operate, so that's one option."
The stairs have been closed since 1991 and many Kaneohe residents are fed up with hikers trespassing through their properties to illegally climb the stairs for the breathtaking views.
"From early in the morning, I can see their flashlights coming from underneath the lower road and they're sneaking up to bypass security and they trash the neighborhoods," said Kaneohe resident Harriet Thornley.
The Honolulu Board of Water Supply spends $250,000 a year to keep people away from the area and is tired of the liability.
"Bottom line, the board of water supply is about delivering a safe dependable and affordable water source to our community. Operating the Stairs like that is really not in our mission,” said Ernest Lau, Honolulu Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer.
The Board of Water Supply is welcoming comments on the draft EIS until August 7th and hopes to publish final EIS at the end of the year.
Once the EIS is completed, it will be up to the Water Board to decide on how to proceed.