Oahu zip line plans draw criticism from Waimalu community

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Feb 19 2014 11:15:37 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 19 2014 11:16:22 PM HST

Plans for a new Oahu zip line have residents unzipping their mouths in opposition.

WAIMALU, Hawaii -

Plans for a new Oahu zip line have residents unzipping their mouths in opposition.

Click here to watch Brenton Awa's report.

Last year the landowner of a 447-acre property in Central Oahu invited a Maui zip line company to bring their operation to Waimalu. But Thursday night, that invitation was ignored by the area's residents who were concerned the attraction would be more of a distraction.

"People don't get on zip lines and keep their mouths shut. They're going to be screaming and squealing and noise carries," said resident Margie Davis.

Even with standing room only for the first public hearing on the issue, it did not hold residents back from sharing their opinions.

"Any rubbish they throw down the zip line -- even though it's up here, it's going to fall downhill to who's property? Ours," said resident Steven Tanaka.

It's still early for detailed plans, but Flyin' Hawaiian Zipline is gearing up to build a Nature Center where zip line tours are offered. The company welcomed the criticism.

"That's why we're here. To hear the concerns of the community and try and be good neighbors," said Duane Ting of Flyin' Hawaiian Zipline.

Residents say the company is not in tune with the land that is zoned for conservation.

"That is a major watershed of Oahu and this is just a foot in the door for the developer to do such a thing," said resident Jerry Matsuda.

But the company says to look at their track record, especially what they have done at their Maui site.

"When we started, we had 12 of our state flower – the Hibiscus Brackenridgei – and now we have over 1,200 up there.

The small amount of residents caught wind of the project last August.

"That small group grew to 1,488 signatures on a petition against the zip line and that's noteworthy," said Matsuda.

Flyin' Hawaiian understands, but says this is no ordinary development.

"I don't think anybody wants a zip line in their backyard. I wouldn't even want a zip line in a backyard, so the concern is more development. The zip lines are better with less development, with no development," said Duane Ting.

There was no resolution to the Thursday meeting. This was just a chance for the community to be heard by the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The DLNR will take the opinions into consideration as the issue moves forward.

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