LIHU‘E — Reports of plans for a wave pool in Waimea were blown out of proportion, says a Hawai‘i real estate developer.
According to Peter Savio, president and CEO of the Savio Group of Companies, some news media reported he planned to build a wave pool in every county. However, he signed a Surf Lakes franchise deal for water parks, but has yet to do community research or apply for permits.
“As a rule, I won’t do it until after we go to the community,” Savio said. “We explain what we’re doing, we get support, and they’re comfortable with it. The concept here is really for the locals.”
Savio said he was a little disappointed with how the media portrayed his intentions.
“I just felt it would be nice to have one on each island because I actually see the high schools using it for their surf teams and things like that,” Savio said. “And if I’m thinking about this correctly, we’re going to try to keep it affordable, so local guys can go. And the way to do that is to use the tourist to subsidize it.”
County Planning Director Ka‘aina Hull, in a press release, said the county has not been made aware of the concept, nor would it be appropriate.
“We are eager to continue our work with the Westside community, which is why I would also like to address a topic that has recently been brought to our attention,” Hull said. “Through news reports, we have been made aware of a possible wave pool proposal aimed for Waimea. While we have not been contacted by the developer about any wave pool proposal — in Waimea or anywhere else on Kaua‘i — we can say that through community outreach for the Waimea 400 property, it’s clear that a wave pool would not be appropriate for this site.”
Savio was born and raised in Hilo and explained his plans for his home county.
“We’re going to combine it (the park) with a native Hawaiian cultural park,” Savio said. “We’re actually going to plant 100- to 200-acre forest. So that native Hawaiian style — if somebody wants to learn how to make tapa, they’ll come, the teacher will charge the tourists let’s say $50 or $100 for a class.”
By doing this, Savio said tourists will not driving on the roads creating more traffic, instead, they will be sitting at the forest he plans to build, learning about the Hawaiian culture.
Savio said he understood the negative response to the plans on Kaua‘i.
“I’m the outsider, it’s their island,” Savio said. “f they don’t want it, that’s fine. But you know, I think it’d be worth it, at least we have a dialogue — we talk story. See if it makes sense, if it doesn’t, fine. Everybody wins.”