Some Kaneohe neighborhood leaders push back on city’s plan to demolish Haiku Stairs

There’s new pushback to the city’s plans to demolish the famed Haiku Stairs. But the mayor says he’s standing by his decision to tear down the WWII-era structur
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:14 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s new pushback to the city’s plans to demolish the famed Haiku Stairs. But the mayor says he’s standing by his decision to tear down the WWII-era structure.

On Thursday, the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board approved a resolution that calls for stopping the demolition plans until costs have been fully accounted for.

The board says the city’s budget to demolish the Stairway to Heaven increased 30% to $1.3 million with no explanation.

“There needs to be good accounting in what that $1.3 million goes into so we are asking for a stop of action on the stairs itself until there’s a good study and good estimate,” said Adriel Lam, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board vice chair.

The board is also worried about helicopters flying over H-3 to tear down the structure and says a 2011 estimate showed it would cost $2.5 million to take it down.

“We were delighted to see the neighborhood board is stepping up and responding to some serious public concerns,” said Sean Pager, president of the Friends of the Haiku Stairs.

“I was able to climb the stairs 25 years ago and I would like to take my kids up there,” he added.

“The city has not changed its position on Haiku stairs and its removal,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office in a statement.

The city also says the removal date will be firmed up after results of a planning study.

“We don’t want to speculate regarding possible rising costs to remove the stairs. We are only in the planning phase right now,” the statement added.

“I think they are still waking up to the fact that they haven’t done their homework. There are serious costs and serious concerns so they kind of rushed into this,” said Pager.

But after years of illegal hiking and trespassing, supporters of tearing down the stairs and neighbors who bear the brunt say they want peace.

“If you live it every day, it’s a nightmare,” a resident told Hawaii News Now. Supporters of demolition were relieved last fall when the city made the decision to take down the stairs.

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