We seem to be at the end of an era. But on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Maui County Council voted 7-0 (Joe Pontanilla and Elle Cochran were absent) to demolish the structure popularly known as the Montana Beach House (the Hawaiian place name is Kapuka‘ulua) in Paia. Moving the solidly-constructed house was apparently prohibitively expensive, so the council says it has to go.
Their reason for ordering the demolition of the house, which has stood vacant for a decade, was simple, according to this Aug. 23 Maui News story: the house should never have been built in the first place, so the only legal recourse was to get rid of it. This is true, but exemplifies the county’s lack of imagination.
Back in 2007, then-former Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons wrote this column for MauiTime asking the county to save the house:
“I spent much of last year as Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Environmental Coordinator, garnering support for the idea of adapting the existing structure as the Maui County Environmental Resource Center,” he wrote in our Nov. 29, 2007 issue. “We developed plans, discussed obstacles and, with volunteers, helped tend the house and yard on several Kokua Clean Up days. More than 30 written testimonies were delivered to the County Council.”
There were hopes that once Arakawa (and Parsons) got back into office, that the county might be able to build exactly that resource center, which would have been the focal point of an impressive beach park. But according to Parsons, who is once again Maui County Environmental Coordinator, that just wasn’t to be.
In the meantime, the nearby rock revetment that once stood in front of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar’s Lime Kiln building remains in place. In his column five years ago, Parsons said that wall was causing serious beach erosion, and apparently nothing has changed since–except that the erosion seems to have gotten worse.
Photo: Rob Parsons