HONOLULU (KHON2) — The fate of Haiku Stairs is closer to being decided, with the release of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Friday, Jan. 24.
“The Haiku stairs is one of the incredible assets that the City and County of Honolulu has control of, but there needs to be some form of managed access…that does not have impact on the community directly below the stairs — that right now has the burden of those that try to trespass through people’s yards and use their hoses to clean off,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The Board of Water Supply (BWS), which currently has responsibility for the stairs, has long recommended removal, and the final EIS still finds removal to be the preferred action. BWS estimates the removal to cost close to $1 million. However, transferring the stairs to another entity and maintaining “managed access” for the public remains a viable alternative, according to the EIS.
“The BWS worked hard at evaluating each alternative thoroughly and providing an accessible process for public comment through small-group and public meetings with various agencies, landowners, community organizations, and individuals with an interest in this project,” stated Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau. “The BWS’s mission is to provide Oahu residents with a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply. Managing Haiku Stairs draws BWS staff, financial, and other resources away from our core mission to efficiently and effectively meet the water demand of our customers.”
A BWS spokesperson tells KHON2 the board could vote as soon as April or May whether to tear down the stairs or to transfer title to another entity such as the City who would retain managed access.