Molokai quarry looking for new operator
Grace Pacific is ending its relationship with the current operator, stoking fears of a construction halt
Grace Pacific Corp.'s plan to terminate the lease of the operator of Molokai's main quarry has caused concern the move could stall building on the island.
Grace Pacific, which owns the quarry land, will end its relationship with Dave Patterson of Patterson Construction & Trucking Inc. effective Oct. 31 because of environmental and operational concerns over the quarry, said Robert Wilkinson, Grace Pacific's chief executive. He declined to elaborate on the concerns.
The landowner is looking for another operator and hopes to have one in place when Patterson's operations cease, said Bob Singlehurst, vice president of quarry operations for Grace Pacific.
"We want to have a quarry under operation; we just don't want it under his operation," Wilkinson said. "If we hadn't terminated our agreement with him, the operation probably would have been shut down for environmental reasons."
Patterson, who did not return calls, has operated the quarry for close to 15 years, Singlehurst said.
The impending closure of the quarry is prompting concerns from some people, who say it will stall a mini-construction boom on Molokai, said Paul Mullin, a retiree who lives in West Molokai's Papohaku Ranchlands.
"The only source of concrete and gravel for the entire island is drying up at a time when the economy of the island is just starting to move," Mullin said.
"Standing on my porch, I can point to six or more construction sites that could be affected by a shutdown," Mullin said. "In my development alone there are about 40 outstanding permits."
The second stage of renovations at Molokai General Hospital as well as private development in the central part of the island and planned development by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands also could be impacted if quarry operations cease, Mullin said.
Singlehurst said Grace Pacific is doing everything it can to make sure Molokai has an operating quarry. The company is exploring the possibility of getting Goodfellow Bros. Inc. to assume quarry operations.
Maui-headquartered Goodfellow Bros. owns land on Molokai next to Grace Pacific's quarry, Singlehurst said. Goodfellow Bros. also operates a concrete batch plant on Molokai and competes with Grace Pacific.
Goodfellow Bros. is considering working with Grace Pacific, said Steve Goodfellow, Goodfellow Bros.'s president.
"We'll take a look at that opportunity," Goodfellow said. "We may decide that we would like to pursue it."