Wailea, Maui, Hawaii – Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed House Bill 1424 on the acquisition of Lipoa Point into law as Act 241 (2013) today.
A ceremonial signing of the bill was held at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa. The Governor was accompanied by Maui County and State officials.
“We look out for one another. The interests of the residents of Maui County have been very well represented,” Abercrombie said. “Twenty million to purchase Lipoa Point is no small deal. This means your legislators were able to make a case and now we are able to preserve one of Hawaii’s most important landmarks.”
The final version of the bill is available here.
Representing the County Council at the event were Council Vice-Chair Robert Carroll and Councilmember Don Couch.
“This is an achievement for the residents of Maui County and this beautiful island we call home,” said Council Vice-Chair Carroll. “The purchase of Lipoa Point exemplifies the importance of preserving significant cultural, historical, and archaeological sites in Hawaii.”
Council Chair Gladys Baisa, who persistently lobbied in support of the measure on behalf of the County Council at the State Legislature, was unable to attend the signing ceremony. She expressed her appreciation to all involved in the passage of the bill, especially to the Maui County representatives that introduced the bill.
“I am grateful to Reps. McKelvey, Carroll, Ing, Woodson, Souki, and Yamashita for introducing this measure,” said Baisa. “This is a very important legislation and I am relieved that we are going to be able to preserve our lands.”
Baisa also expressed gratitude to Senators Roz Baker, Gil Keith-Agaran, and J. Kalani English for their support.
“This effort united State and County Government with the community,” Baisa added. “Today’s signing of the bill is also a success for non-profit organizations and preservation groups, including Save Honolua Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and hundreds of individuals that tirelessly lobbied to protect the pristine parcel of land.”
View a copy of Councilmember Baisa’s testimony.
HB 1424 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, to acquire the parcel. The proposed Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget was amended to include a provision to appropriate $20 million to purchase Lipoa Point at Honolua Bay.
The parcel of land was pledged against a Maui Land & Pine pension fund. The company ended pineapple operations in 2009 and golf operations in 2011, resulting in the lay off of workers actively paying into the pension plan. This triggered a need for additional security. The purchase of Lipoa Point and over 5,300 acres mauka of Honolua will secure additional unfunded retirement liability, protecting pension benefits of approximately 1,600 retirees.
Maui Land and Pine’s program Malama Honolua is dedicated to the belief that Lipoa Point at Honolua Bay is “an extraordinary area with extraordinary kuleana (responsibility).”
During Council deliberations of The Maui Island Plan, adopted in 2012 as part of the Maui County General Plan, hundreds of testifiers identified Lipoa Point at Honolua Bay as a site to be protected in perpetuity because of its significant environmental, ecological, cultural, archaeological, and recreational values.
The parcel has been threatened by encroaching development of golf courses and luxury homesites.
Councilmember Elle Cochran, founder of Save Honolua Coalition, was instrumental in educating the residents about the bay’s history, health, and preservation.
“I am thankful to everyone involved, especially the people in our community that persevered and kept the momentum going to save Lipoa Point,” said Cochran. “This is for the benefit of the community, the environment, and future generations to come. I am proud to have played a role and to see everyone’s hard work finally become a reality.”
Honolua Bay is a beloved sanctuary for the local community, including surfers, and is revered by Native Hawaiians. In 2007, Maui Magazine labeled the area as the ‘azure jewel’ of Maui’s northwest shore. A marine conservation area, it is also home to colorful corals, green sea turtles, and thousands of tropical fish.
To view the journey of this measure into law, please visit HB1424.
The Governor also signed SB498, which provides funding for emergency medical services in Maalaea; HB 1412, requiring small boat harbors to accommodate the mooring of native Hawaiian canoes; and HB 1328, relating to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve.
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