HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new state-of-the-art emergency shelter is in the works on the Windward side of Oahu. It comes with a big price tag, but residents and officials said safety should be priceless.
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Koolauloa stretches from Kaaawa to Kahuku and residents are concerned about what will happen during an emergency.
“In a disaster, even a Category 1 our roads will most likely be blocked,” said Dotty Kelly-Paddock, of Hui O Hauula.
Since 2011, the non-profit, Hui O Hauula has been working to create a safe place for residents to go to. The plan is called the Koolauloa Community Resilience Hub and the wheels are turning on the project. An environment assessment has been submitted to the state.
“We must have a place that’s a community safe room that will save people’s lives,” said Kelly-Paddock.
According to the document, the hub will be located on Hauula Homestead Road on 5 acres of state owned land. The materials to build the hub would be made from impact rated metal and fiberglass, designed to be the first line of defense. During and after a disaster, the hub’s safe rooms that spread through three stories would be able to shelter 1,500 people for up to 30 days. There’s even a helistop included in the plan for medical evacuations.
“It’ll provide the shelter that we need as well as communications with the outside world so we can communicate with how we’re doing and what our needs are,” Kelly-Paddock said.
The Koolauloa community resilience hub will not only provide a safe place for residents during disasters, but year round services as well.
“We’re talking medical, dental, help that people need in the community the non-profits that could be operating,” said Sen. Brenton Awa, (R) Kaneohe, Kahaluu through Laie, Kahuku. “It’s so important if we could get a little help from the state.”
Sen. Awa said the project comes with a hefty price tag $30 million, but much of the funding could come from the federal government.
“We’ll be doing the same thing that was done in Maui, the same thing that was done in Haena, boating in supplies to residents and we don’t want it to come down to that,” Sen. Awa said.
Hui O Haaula has also put in a request for federal funding and is hoping to receive that next year.