HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite strong opposition from some Kauai residents, the developer is moving ahead with plans to rebuild the Coco Palms Resort. The company said demolition will start before the end of the year.
The developer, Reef Capital Partners, gave a presentation on the project at a community meeting Wednesday night. But some residents made it clear they weren’t interested.
They yelled, “We don’t want to hear about your project, no hotel!”
The company was required to give the presentation and it ended shortly after they started yelling, “No hotel, no hotel, no hotel!”
“It was more just there to tell us what they’re doing and to convince the community to want something clearly the community does not want,” said Fern Holland, a community activist with the group I Ola Wailuanui.
“Unfortunately, some of the people who are opposed to the project decided to shout down anybody who had a view different from theirs and that’s too bad,” said John Day, chief financial officer at Reef Capital Partners.
The iconic Coco Palms Hotel has sat in ruins for more than 30 years after Hurricane Iniki battered Kauai. The Utah based developer plans to rebuild it as a 350-room hotel.
Some residents said there’s already too much traffic in the area and it should instead be preserved as a cultural site. But Day said there are many residents who want to see the project move forward, so demolition will start in weeks.
“They want to see the unsound structures that are there at Coco Palms come down and we’re excited to deliver that for the community,” said Day.
“It’s definitely a place that should be a preserved cultural site and not another hotel and really, people on Kauai don’t want another hotel anyway,” said Holland.
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Holland added there’s also not enough workers on the island.
Back in April DLNR ordered the developer to stop work for cutting down 77 coconut trees. At the time DLNR said it could be a basis for terminating the permit. But Day says the lease allows them to do that.
“We think the lease on that land not only allows but requires us to maintain that grove according to modern nursery practices, including removing any diseased trees,” he said.
DLNR says the case is still under investigation.