Letters — Seeking Improved Connectivity In Upper Puna

In January of 2013 a new subcommittee of the Puna Community Development Plan was formed to address the connectivity priorities of the plan with a special emphasis on health, safety and emergency issues.  The Puna District has the fastest growing population in Hawaii, with the 2010 census showing it exceeding Hilo’s population.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure has not grown in proportion to people and the need for alternate roads to exit in case of emergencies has become a top priority.

On Aug. 31, 2013, the PCDP Subcommittee on Connectivity and Emergency Response in partnership with the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency and with the help of 300 volunteers and the support of many public and private agencies and individuals and businesses, presented the inaugural Puna Regional Emergency Preparedness Fair at the Keaau High School grounds.  The purpose of this event was to help people become aware of the many things they need to do regarding emergency response, AND, to bring together as many Puna residents as possible to explore the deficiencies in connectivity between subdivisions, emergency access and alternative routes. Surveys were also taken indicating the level of emergency preparedness of various subdivisions and surrounding areas.

Ultimately, three connectivity priority lists (Puna Uka, Puna Waena, Puna Kai) will be forwarded to the County’s Dept. of Public Works and others able to implement road planning, funding, and construction.

The procedure to determine roads to be submitted for implementation is as follows:

  • Present preliminary input and rankings to subdivisions and surrounding areas
  • Communicate with and within subdivisions and surrounding areas to gather further input from their membership at meetings, via email and website postings
  • Emphasize the importance of testifying at PCDP Action Committee meetings related to proposed Connectivity Locations and provide timeline for testimonies.
  • Continue to involve subdivision groups and residents in prioritization process until lists are developed, approved and confirmed.

Timeline for PCDP Action Committee Meeting Testimonies:

Puna Uka (Volcano to Hawaiian Acres)- 2/11 and 3/11/14; Puna Waena(Hawn. Acres to Pahoa) – 3/11 and 4/8/14; Puna Kai (Pahoa to All Makai Communities) – 3/11 and 4/8/14

Thank you for your participation in making our community a safer place to live.  We welcome all of you to attend and participate in our 2nd annual PREP Fair to be held on August 30th and to join our subcommittee at our meetings each fourth Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Kea’au Community Center.

For more information email mhapai@aol.com and pintonian@gmail.com.

Aloha and Mahalo,

Marlene Hapai, Chair, Subcommittee on Connectivity and Emergency Response

Patti Pinto, Chair, Puna Community Development Plan, Action Committee

2 replies
  1. Alan McNarie
    Alan McNarie says:

    Those meeting times, ironically, are after the last Puna Uka Bus leaves, which means that any one who’s dependent on bus service can’t participate.

  2. Hilojoey
    Hilojoey says:

    Why do they always wait till is gotten out if control. Puna has been exploding in growth the pass 10 years. This should have been addressed 5 years ago.

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