Sides split on tree removal

  • Photo submitted by Rayne Regush

    Ironwood trees along the Waipouli coastline are marked for removal in the Coconut Beach Resort project.

WAIPOULI — Red paint on ironwood trees along Kauai’s Eastside Waipouli coastline is marking the way for a new beach area and eventual coastal path for the up-and-coming Coconut Beach Resort.

And while the County of Kauai says the developer, SPD II Makaiwa Resort Development LLC, has the proper permits, some Kauai residents are concerned with the removal project.

“Not only do the beachfront ironwoods constitute an important part of the beauty of this scenic coastline, but they also help stabilize the beach and prevent damage to the coastal berm,” said Rayne Regush, who is on the executive committee of the Sierra Club Kauai Group.

Regush says the trees facing impending removal are within a public access area secured by Sierra Club Kauai Group in November. The group is asking the work be stopped and a beach management plan prepared.

She points out a well-used footpath runs through the ironwoods along the coast and the removal of the trees will “dramatically alter the natural setting and fishers will be impacted by loss of shade.”

Mitch Heller, manager of SPD II Makaiwa Resort Development LLC, confirmed Tuesday the planned removal of the trees on the property, with a plan to create a walkway in the area that will eventually connect with the Ke Ala Hele Makalae coastal path.

“We have worked in close contact with the County of Kauai on our plans, including removal of trees on our property,” Heller said.

He continued: “We are (also) consulting with statewide executives at The Outdoor Circle and other environmental experts on our overall landscaping plan, which emphasizes planting native species, and adding more than 1,000 trees and palms to the property.”

Tuesday, the county confirmed the developer has the proper county permits necessary to proceed with its project.

Coconut Beach Resort is a 343-unit timeshare with six hotel rooms included in the plan. Landscaping is also included, with an emphasis on native species and more than 1,000 trees and palms on the books for the property.

The ironwoods, for the developers, are a safety hazard and are in the way of the walkway project.

“Our arborist has informed us that many of these ironwood trees are diseased and dying, and has recommended their removal to create a safe, open and accessible beach area for everyone to enjoy,” Heller said.

There hasn’t been a timeline provided on when the ironwoods are to be cut down, but many are marked for removal from the north and central portion of the property.

Concerned citizens with Sierra Club Kauai Group say that the 2014 certified arborist’s report identified only 17 unhealthy or unsafe ironwood trees for removal.

“Now there are dozens of trees on the chopping block,” said Judy Dalton, co-chair of the Sierra Club Kauai Group.

She continued: “The developer should be fostering the health of the existing trees and shrubs makai and mauka of the shoreline. Habitat restoration is not the developer’s priority. It’s about clearing the view plain.”

Heller has a different view on the project, and says the LLC is making all the steps to complete the project and be an asset to Kauai.

“By managing our project with utmost care and respect and running a successful, generous business thereafter, SPD II Makaiwa intends to be a positive, long-term contributor to the Kauai economy and community,” he said.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com.

4 Comments
  1. Debra Kekaualua September 27, 2018 1:38 am Reply

    You bet, sides are split. Similar to coco palms and the bell stone heiau. The Kahea has sounded, expect to have your line cut, we have already tagged this place once with thousand minicrosses where is kupuna iwi, i wanda how many more were desicrated when they built the original hotels when Desecration was a new vocabulary word to many. This setting should be one-speed, shut down due to the judiciary or anyone for that matter not sharing the annexation paperwork, which proves ZERO JURISDICTION, even the one by joint resolution would be an interest starter, althouth it is fraud, like all the rest of what they planned


  2. Uncleaina September 27, 2018 6:13 am Reply

    Sure guy, cut em. What do us local people know anyway?


  3. RG DeSoto September 27, 2018 11:12 am Reply

    Dalton: “Now there are dozens of trees on the chopping block,” said Judy Dalton, co-chair of the Sierra Club Kauai Group.”
    She continued: “The developer should be fostering the health of the existing trees and shrubs makai and mauka of the shoreline. Habitat restoration is not the developer’s priority. It’s about clearing the view plain.”

    Hey Judy…just who owns this property? What the developer does is none of your business. Remember when you were building your house down the road behind the Shell station? I recall you demanding that the Planning Dept. allow you to move construction further towards the beach which would have put you past the setback other property owners next to you had to observe.
    As usual with the progressive socialists…the rules are for everyone else. And, you love to compel people to spend THEIR money the way YOU want them too.
    Please go away.
    RG DeSoto


  4. MisterM September 27, 2018 9:01 pm Reply

    Get rid of all the Ironwoods. Horrible, non-native trees.


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