Supporters fight to keep East Oahu landscape from development

Supporters fight to keep East Oahu landscape from development
Published: Jul. 25, 2015 at 2:54 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2015 at 2:56 AM HST
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EAST HONOLULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The clock is ticking as community groups and government agencies work to preserve a treasured landscape in East Oahu.

It's a battle stretching back decades.

In the late 1980s, the "Save Sandy Beach Initiative" protected more than 30 acres of the Ka Iwi coastline from a luxury development. Now, a new generation is fighting another proposed development in the area and they have just weeks to pull it off.

The breathtaking undeveloped stretch along Kalanianaole Highway from Sandy Beach to Makapuu is East Oahu's Ka Iwi Coast. The land for sale is just mauka of the highway between the Hawaii Kai Golf Course and Makapuu. It is 182-acres of land that stretches for seven miles along East Oahu's pristine coastline.

Supporters for this coalition say it's irreplaceable.

The two parcels of land are for sale for $4 million. The city has dedicated $2.5 million of that to purchase the land and the state has dedicated $1 million. The agreement with the Ka Iwi Coalition and Trust for Public Land states the community must come up with the rest. The deadline is August 30th.

Kendrick Chang, a recent graduate from Kaiser High School, says failure isn't an option.

"We are already just over $270,000, but we just need to hit the mark and it's really only about 5-percent left that we just need to raise," Chang said.

For six weeks now, Chang and several others have been sign waving in Hawaii Kai to raise awareness and money before the time runs out.

"It's critical because if we don't raise it, the number two person in line to buy it is a developer and that's cabins on Ka Iwi, that's the whole reiteration of what we went through, which we don't want to lose and go through again," said Representative Gene Ward, Hawaii Kai/Kalama Valley.

Development proposals for the properties have varied from a golf school, to a private recreation center, to a vacation cabin subdivision.

It's been a battle for decades, one that "Save Ka Iwi Coast" supporters say is critical to win.

"Why can't we have just the natural coastline? We don't have much of it left," said Rene Garbin.

"It's just so important because once it's gone it's gone. It won't come back," Garbin said.

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