The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has set its sights on removing the Haiku Stairs after decades of trouble with illegal access and costs surrounding the popular Windward Oahu hiking attraction also known as the Stairway to Heaven.
The independent city agency is willing to spend $1 million to yank out the 3,922 metal steps up the side of the Koolau Mountains in Kaneohe and estimates that it could start the removal work late next year and finish the job in mid-2022.
However, the board also said it remains open to any viable proposals to transfer its ownership of the property to a public or private entity if access and other issues can be resolved.
The agency, which said it spends $250,000 a year trying to deter trespassers from climbing the stairs, laid out its plan in a draft environmental assessment published by the state Office of Environmental Quality Control on Sunday following more than two years of discussions with other government agencies, community organizations, area residents and others.
“The BWS’s mission is to provide Oahu residents with a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply,” Ernest Lau, the agency’s manager and chief engineer, said in a statement. “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.”