New zip line venture planned for Oahu

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jan 29 2014 09:38:00 PM HST

Plans for Oahu's first major zipline operation are getting underway. A public hearing on the project is just weeks away, and plans call for building a Waimalu Nature Center where zipline tours will be offered.

HONOLULU -

The signs say no trespassing but this ridge regularly draws everyone from hikers to dirt and mountain bikers, to paintball players, and they all park in the neighborhood to get access.

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Property owners say they don't belong there.

"We feel people are really disrespecting the property so If we are on the property we feel we can manage the property," said Chris Lau of Waimalu Nature Center and Zip line Canopy Tours.

Waimalu Partners is tapping Flying Hawaiian,a Maui zip line company to operate the zip tours.

But after preliminary meetings with the Waimalu community, the company is already running into opposition.

"A lot of residents in this Newton Community are not so happy with this project,” said Pat Mills.

Mills is one of many people who are nervous about what’s to come.

She has helped circulate a petition collecting 2000 signatures of people who are against the project even though it is a permitted use of the conservation land.

They fear what it may bring to the neighborhood.

"Traffic, and a lot of strangers. This area is known to be very peaceful,” said Mills.

But the company says customers will not be allowed to just drive up to the area.

They will have to go to an off-site location to get on vans up to the area.

"We estimate there will be two to three van trips at the most. We have a traffic study based on 66 one-way trips. So there will be 33 round trips which include the vans as well as staff," said Lau.

Lau says the first zip line will be more than a mile away from the closest home so there shouldn’t be much noise.

The plan calls for building platforms to support seven ziplines as part of a two hour nature tour.

The company has prepared a draft environmental assessment and has applied for a conservation use permit. If the land board gives its blessing on the project, the company estimates it may take six months before it can be up and running.

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