When Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. signed a second supplementary emergency proclamation on Wednesday, he did the right thing.
He likely was under some pressure to open Lumahai, Wainiha, Ha‘ena areas up to visitors so TVRs could get back in business and give the economy a boost, but he held his ground “to provide relief for disaster damages and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people.”
Effective Wednesday, the disaster emergency relief period continues until terminated 60 days after May 23 or by a separate proclamation — whichever comes first.
This, per a county press release, extends an emergency rule and order prohibiting the operation of Transient Vacation Rentals in the Lumaha‘i, Wainiha, Haena area and limiting the accessibility to said area.
Right now, that’s a good thing.
“We thank the people of Kaua‘i as well as our visitors for your continued patience,” the mayor said in a press release. “This second supplementary emergency proclamation is necessary for the well-being of both our residents and visitors, and all of our governmental and community partners are actively working to ensure life on the island gets back to normal.”
Nearly six weeks after the epic April 15 flooding, things might appear to be back to normal for most of us. But for many, they are far from normal and won’t be for many more months, even years. And at times, the situation on the North Shore is tense, particularly these days with vehicles coming and going, only allowed through after strict review of credentials at checkpoints. The last things locals still struggling to recover want to see is a carload of carefree tourists cruising by them on the North Shore headed to their TVR for a nice vacation and time at the beach. We welcome our guests, of course, but recognize this might not be the best time to plan a party in Haena and plan to stay there enjoying a break from the grind while residents toil to gain back what they lost it the flood.
In case you were wondering just what are the rules for the Lumahai, Wainiha, Ha‘ena areas:
Access in the areas listed above is limited to the following persons, agencies, and organizations:
1. Residents (no visitors);
2. County/state/federal governmental employees and verified governmental contractors;
3. Employees and volunteers for the following types of non-governmental organizations:
a. Utility providers;
b. Recognized humanitarian/disaster response and recovery entities;
c. Insurance industry — Serving verified residents/property owners;
d. Residential or infrastructure construction/repair contractors – swerving verified residents/property owners;
e. Area businesses and non-profits engaged by county/state/federal government in response/recovery operations; and
f. Other NGO entities, as approved or requested by the County of Kauai, State of Hawaii or the federal government.
4. Vehicles with a GVWR of 5 Tons (10,000 pounds) and under, with Hawaii Department of Transportation-authorized exceptions for appropriate emergency response vehicles.
Now, you might think you’ll just visit the North Shore, anyway, and slip in unnoticed. Perhaps just swing by for a look at how things are going, maybe visit a friend.
The public is warned that any person violating this emergency rule and order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the person(s) shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
That’s a steep price to pay to go where you are not supposed to be, so don’t go there.
And don’t think we’re picking on TVRs. The owners of these vacation rentals are just doing what they’ve always done and will continue to do. They are earning income, as they are entitled to do. It’s just that right now might be a good time for a break rather than advertising to attract visitors.
Let’s help our North Shore ohana as best we can — donations of cash are always good — without getting in the way or looking like we’re just want poke around a bit and see the damage. What they need, now, is support and recovery with as little stress as possible. The proclamation signed by Carvalho will provide just that.