Saturday, September 05, 2009

Pine Trees and Beach Access

I've enjoyed the four-wheel access to O'oma and Kohanaiki for many years and favor public access, generally. But I had mixed feelings about the recent NELHA gate closure controversy.

First of all, the coastal road goes very close to archaeological structures, and that was one of the reasons given for the gate closure that so outraged the public. Imagine if a developer, or even the government, wanted to put a road that close to a Hawaiian structure. What would some of the same people be saying?

Second, I don't agree that all parts of the coast should be easily accessed by vehicles. The O'oma/Kohanaiki coastline is very clean and well-kept by the users, but something is lost when you have trucks constantly going by right next to the coast, and heavy usage inevitably degrades the ocean environment. Public access shouldn't necessarily mean 4-wheel-drive access.

Third, the new access road through the new development is fine, and connects to the same coast. Access to the new road is limited to southbound traffic, and the egress is southbound only as well, necessitating a turnaround at OTEC or Matsuyama's, but it appears to me that that's a temporary situation, and eventually the access road will have a traffic signal.

So I'm not sorry that the gate has been re-opened, but as I understand things, the plan is still eventually to close off access to protect the archaeological resources. Hopefully at some point we can have a reasonable discussion, instead of a knee-jerk torches and pitchforks uprising, and the resources will be protected from further damage.

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