Group: No hotel at Coco Palms site

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The shell of the former Coco Palms Resort sits empty on Kuhio Highway in Wailua.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Visitors using Ke Ala Hele Makala‘e, the Eastside coastal path, Monday gaze at the remnants of the former Coco Palms Resort across Kuhio Highway in Wailua.

WAILUA —Kaua‘i community residents have mobilized to protect the land of Coco Palms Resort against development as the property heads to auction later this month.

I Ola Wailuanui is a working group that has been trying to put together resources to preserve the land to protect cultural and natural resources. Recent news of the public auction set for July 26 surprised the group.

“The land, traditionally known as Wailuanuiaho‘ano, is a wahi kapu, or sacred site, to Native Hawaiians and Kaua‘i residents,” Pua Rossi-Fukino said.

And to honor this history, I Ola Wailuanui envisions the creation of a Hawaiian cultural and education center, agricultural park and community resource. To make this happen, the group would like to restore the native wetland habitat.

“This project is not just a want, but it’s a need for our community. This vision came about with our kupuna in mind: How can we best protect the sacredness of Wailuanuiahoano?” Rossi-Fukino said. “And it came about with our keiki in mind: How can we ensure that future generations will know, respect and perpetuate this special place?”

The group has also been reaching out to community members and those with lineal ties to the Wailuanuiahoano area, too.

“The vision can include significant opportunities for the advancement of Hawaiian craft, language, music, hula, cultural practices and traditional games,” I Ola Wailuanui said in a statement. “The site could house a canoe hale, restored native gardens, places for health and healing, gathering, education and environmental restoration.”

I Ola Wailuanui is standing against the commercial development of a hotel on the land. Several attempts to breathe new life into the former Coco Palms that was devastated by Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992 have failed, and the latest try ended in the upcoming foreclosure auction.

“We firmly believe that a resort development is not suitable at this site, not wanted by our community, and that there is wide and passionate opposition to the establishment of another hotel in this location,” she said.

”The time has come to turn this space into an environment that benefits our community and honors the significant Hawaiian history and archaeological features of this ‘aina.”

An online petition generated over 200 signatures within a day of the group’s announcement.

“We are hopeful that others that share this vision and are capable of making this a reality through foundations, funding programs and donations will step forward to help establish this shared vision for the restoration of this incredibly sacred and culturally significant site,” Fern Anuenue Holland said in a statement.

“Working together, we can ensure that this very special place is returned to the community and that it grows into a place of inspiration, conservation and agricultural abundance that honors the history and culture upon which it is founded.”

35 Comments
  1. I saw a Vampire once July 7, 2021 2:34 am Reply

    Make it into a amusement haunted house for tourist. Pay a fee. And see an amusement park of haunted house just like the Hawaiians had it then. Then a luau.


    1. nobody July 8, 2021 6:45 am Reply

      That is funny.


    2. Paul Rivera July 8, 2021 7:30 am Reply

      Aloha Nui, born and raised on Kauai, home was in wailua house lot area on lanakika rd.
      Played and fished the coco palms lagoon regularly. Heard the drums each night echoing up to the sleeping giant from the torch lighting ceremony. Grew up and became an employer of Coco palms . A sacred place to share old Hawaiian tradition.
      Became a participant in recreating the torch lighting ceremony. Narrated by Mrs Grace Busher and uncle Larry Rivera.
      This can be continued for everyone can come to enjoy this treasure each evening like the old times. This can be carried on for the future generations to witness and enjoy.
      Kupuna and Keiki and visitors would enjoy.
      Keakua Aloha Nui.


  2. I saw a Vampire once July 7, 2021 2:37 am Reply

    You could make it into a national attraction site of haunted house amusement park. Open from 7:30 pm to 1:00 am nightly. And a fee and a luau. Wow!


  3. RG DeSoto July 7, 2021 7:29 am Reply

    “Working together, we can ensure that this very special place is returned to the community and that it grows into a place of inspiration, conservation and agricultural abundance that honors the history and culture upon which it is founded.”
    So I suppose you plan on buying the property at the auction; then maintain and pay taxes on it? You know, putting your money and resources where your proverbial mouths are.
    RG DeSoto


    1. Joanne July 8, 2021 10:17 pm Reply

      Yes. I suppose figuring out a way to buy the property would most definitely be of benefit to preserve this special place versus selling to highest bidder, who could potentially be of the same type of people who have inundated Kauai, paying over the top prices with no real connection to this place. Wailua is foundational to Kauai. Study the history and then consider why it would be of best interest for Kauai to preserve this space. For all you smart asses…if you truly cared for Kauai, you would shut up and listen to your kupuna. For all you mahilini…get educated about the history of Wailua before you start spouting off. For those of you who are offering kokua…perhaps we need to start a go fund me?


  4. Tanya July 7, 2021 8:12 am Reply

    It would be nice if one of the
    billionaires on this island bought this property, then donated it to become a Hawaiian culture center.


    1. RGLadder37 July 7, 2021 5:00 pm Reply

      Why should I give my money to them? I’d rather live like a king. Now I own the land. That’s a king. Only smarter.


  5. Kauaidoug July 7, 2021 8:21 am Reply

    Where is this online petition. Please no hotel at Coco Palms!


    1. Richard Blake July 7, 2021 4:44 pm Reply

      Seriously are you aware of the problems Kauai is facing with lack of land fill space? This would be a good spot, and centrally located, and save money on gas for the trucks. I know the same people who are going to mock me likely don’t recycle.


      1. Wailua ohana July 8, 2021 8:19 am Reply

        I hope you are being sarcastic…Seriously the worst idea I’ve ever heard


        1. Richard Blake July 9, 2021 8:15 am Reply

          Wailua, I would ask you to have an open mind and listen to my argument. First, science is showing us our landfills are not properly decomposing materials. They are digging up banana peels from the 50’s that still look fresh. So what we are doing is building land fills along the periphry of our communities and will end up, as they too reach capacity, bringing them in closer to our communities until like many eariler civilizations we end up living directly on our trash. People need to be made aware, and learn to use proper techinques for garbage recycling and disposal. This is an opportunity to educate.


      2. Joe Public July 8, 2021 1:49 pm Reply

        Yeah, right in the heart of Kapaa Town, along the highway..really smart!


        1. Richard Blake July 9, 2021 7:58 am Reply

          Joe and Wailua, I am being serious and it is a good idea. First of all this is a small island and it is going to have to be in “someone’s” back yard. Secondly seeing a landfill will make everyone who drives by realize that maybe we are generating too much trash and should be recycling. Thirdly the current structure can be pushed over saving much money versus hauling it away. Not trying to argue but don’t you think we would be better off in the long run if instead of having our trash hauled away, without giving how much garbage we generate a second thought, we actually made people think about the consequences of our thoughtless generation of waste?


  6. EddieG July 7, 2021 8:35 am Reply

    I would really love to support this effort both in funds and assistance to restore this land. When I last lived here (2015-2017) I obtained my master gardeners certification. We have returned to live out our lives here, so I want to give back to the community. My question is this, if I pledge $10K for the funds to submit the bid, is this enough to get started? If it fails, will the funds be returned so I may support other worthy efforts?


  7. Resident of 30 yrs July 7, 2021 8:51 am Reply

    The powers to be should explore the idea of requesting the Zuckerberg/Chan representatives to acquire the Coco Palms Property and consider the building of a Cultural/Healing Center to honor the surviving Native Hawaiians and with restoration of the heiau on that sacred site.


  8. therealhawaiian July 7, 2021 9:43 am Reply

    ‘Amene


  9. Wailua Ohana July 7, 2021 10:13 am Reply

    The time is now for Mr. Zuckerburg to step up and show us how much he really cares about the island of Kauai and its residents.


  10. TERRI VOERMAN July 7, 2021 10:34 am Reply

    Now IS the time !


  11. Lou Morejohn July 7, 2021 10:47 am Reply

    If no development is wanted, then the property should be bought at market price by people who don’t want development. Pretty simple. Does the County have an interest?


  12. Christy Herring July 7, 2021 10:57 am Reply

    I just returned from this beautiful island. Even as an outsider, it seems that if a group wants to create a space that will help instill a sense of pride of heritage for future generations and honors the culture and environment, my question would be “how can I contribute to this worthy cause?”


    1. Richard Blake July 7, 2021 4:39 pm Reply

      The best way you could help out would be to stay home instead of traveling to our island during a plague. Not trying to be mean, just honest. People are dying you know.


      1. Kali Yuga July 8, 2021 8:19 am Reply

        It doesn’t help your argument to misuse what a plague means. Hardly anyone has died on Kaua’i. Didn’t you get your vaccine already? Why are you worried? It’s over.


      2. Richard Blake July 9, 2021 8:37 am Reply

        Kali, plague or pandemic let’s not argue about terms. This is not over, variants, that is why. Listen to Fauci who works hard overcoming public ignorance wielding science, being serious here, like a skilled leprecon swings a shillelagh.


  13. Shawn K. August Kahakeli'i July 7, 2021 12:51 pm Reply

    I will say again, as I have done in the past….we should turn it into a University of Hawaii acredited college campus that provides Hawaiian Cultural Arts degrees & a real time operating resort, with other degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Business Management, Massage Therapy, etc…!!


  14. I saw a Vampire once July 7, 2021 12:51 pm Reply

    I also think that the county is too church group with the owners. As much as I like capitalism, I think letting the owner rot and not collect from the community is the thing to do.

    So what if you ruin a hotel. Just let the owner rot. Then wait and see why the people like the hotel. Simple solution to a long lasting problem. Waste.


  15. Z July 7, 2021 2:09 pm Reply

    Isn’t funny I proposed that sentiment 25 years ago . Do what they propose todo give it back to the people we don’t need another hotel.


  16. Richard Blake July 7, 2021 2:51 pm Reply

    A better use of this land, and demonstration of Aloha, would be to designate the area for tent shelters for not only our homeless, but, too, the homeless on the west coast suffering life ending high temperatures well over 100 degrees. People are litterly dying from global warming. Now is our time to show compassion, and even if temporeraly, for the summer season, welcome these climate refugees.


  17. Keiki o ka aina July 7, 2021 2:58 pm Reply

    I am in total agreement with this vision. This sacred and spiritual location is the most appropriate place for the advancement of Hawaiian craft, language, music, hula, cultural practices and traditional games for our community. Yes it will certainly be a place of inspiration, conservation and agricultural abundance that honors the history and culture upon which it is founded.”


  18. Ken Coole July 7, 2021 4:39 pm Reply

    If no hotel make it one sports venue Bradah. OHHHH RRRRRworld Westling. Oh Yeah. Taro Man VS da hulk OHHHH Yeah.


  19. Mark July 8, 2021 4:05 am Reply

    To Richard Blake, Dear Richard, so Kauai should at tax payers expense import more homeless into a slum? Man how are you not king of the world? Why hasn’t Richard been placed at the head of Kauai’s brain trust? This guy is totally awesome!


  20. Tanya July 8, 2021 6:56 am Reply

    Do nothing! Make it a museum of how screwed up this dog and pony show has been going on forever.


  21. john sheridan July 8, 2021 9:25 am Reply

    Perhaps The Garden Island could provide more information on the current owners and expected value. The Coco Palms location without a beach and with a lot of traffic seems like an unlikely location for a hotel.


  22. Betty Lynch July 8, 2021 1:08 pm Reply

    I too feel for u I’m trying to save whats left of one (Wahkapu) it’s the palehua the training grounds of our ancestor warriors


  23. Larry July 9, 2021 5:57 pm Reply

    I think that turning this space into a learning center about Hawaiian language, religion, art and culture makes a lot of sense and could really change things for the better.

    One example. If Hawaiian conversation classes including some Hawaiian speakers as teachers, were offered to visitors for a fee and also at low or no cost for island residents, it could play an important role in encouraging the revival of the Hawaiian language and its use on Kauai.

    Allied with UH distance learning programs, the cultural center could offer support throughout the islands and worldwide.

    Programs in hula, Hawaiian medicine and agriculture would also be very appealing.

    The world needs more aloha, and needs to understand where it comes from, the Hawaiian people.

    There has been a lot of discussion about how to encourage new kinds of tourism and attract tourists, with more appreciation of local culture (with less automobile traffic) Offering the resources of a center like this with shuttles to the hotels, shops and restaurants could be one way of accomplishing these goals.

    An effort like this would require the foundational support of visionary philanthropists like the Zuckerbergs, but would be self sustaining in the revenues it would generates.

    Especially if local people are involved as teachers and fellow learners, communicating their families memories and knowledge, the unique and meaningful experiences it would offer visitors would quickly become well known through the travelers’ social media sites.

    People go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and drink a glass of wine at a cafe, but they also go to hear art lectures at the Louvre, take language and cooking classes and start to learn French.

    We also have “deeper” experiences to offer visitors, plus magnificent beaches and scenery.


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