The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is continuing on the path toward either removing the contentious Haiku Stairs or turning it over to another government entity, according to a final environmental impact statement released this week.
The EIS states that the board’s primary objective is to rid its rate payers of the liability and ongoing security costs tied to retaining the asset, which has been officially closed to the public for decades but is still visited daily by throngs of hiking enthusiasts who ignore both security guards and trespassing signs.
“While transferring the property along with Ha‘ikū Stairs to another city agency may emerge as a viable alternative, it has not yet been adequately developed,” the report from Group 70 said. “Accordingly, the Proposed Action is to completely remove Ha‘ikū Stairs. Removing Ha‘ikū Stairs will involve physical extraction of all stair segments from the base of the valley, along the ridgeline, then to the top of the ridge and beyond to the Moanalua Saddle Stairs.”
The board has estimated removal could cost as much as $1 million.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell has voiced willingness to discuss the possibility of another city agency take over control Haiku Stairs from BWS, a semi-autonomous agency.
BWS spokeswoman Kathleeen Pahinui said the board could make a final decision in April or May.
“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,” agency Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau said in a release.