Turtle Bay Resort expansion will benefit N. Shore residents
FOR THE PAST five years the Kuilima Resort Co. has been rebuilding and revitalizing Turtle Bay Resort. We have transformed Turtle Bay and have been widely complimented on the improvements we've made to the hotel, restaurants, nature trails, beach access, golf courses and on our contributions to surrounding communities.
This effort has injected more than $157 million into the North Shore economy, including wages and benefits. Employment at Turtle Bay has grown from 250 employees in 2001 to nearly 700 today.
The Kuilima resort plan was devised as an economic advancement effort to benefit the people of the North Shore who were unemployed and underemployed. The Kahuku Community Association was and still is the host organization of the project. The association's board of directors reaffirmed its support for our plans this month.
The Kahuku community supports the need for the development, which will generate jobs and provide wanted parks, beach access, affordable housing and the opportunity to revitalize its community.
During the past 14 months our efforts have focused on implementing the requirements for internal roadways, infrastructure, subdivisions that include parcels for park dedication, and public easements, as well as traffic studies and highway improvements. We plan to continue the infrastructure process, and planning for the development of hotels and condominiums is months ahead.
Some have mischaracterized or misunderstood the issues, such as traffic, hotel impact, ocean access and schedule. Employees of the resort complex will drive in the morning toward Kahuku Point, not toward town along with commuter traffic. Some of those future employees now commute up to an hour or more to their jobs in town. Their commute time will be drastically reduced, so they can spend more time with their families and the activities they love on the North Shore.
Few visitors at Turtle Bay will be on the roads adding to commuter traffic. Turtle Bay is a destination resort, and as we grow, the incremental guest traffic to and from the resort will be offset by the significant benefit of reduced commuter traffic to town, as well as the additional jobs that allow more residents to live and work on the North Shore.
Another important point to be made is that many of our future employees will live where they live now -- in Kahuku, Laie, Waialua and other North Shore and Windward communities. Additional affordable housing is a significant part of our unilateral agreement, and we believe Kahuku and its surrounding areas need employee housing. We will continue our discussions on where and how best to implement this requirement.
The only beach access now between Waialee Beach Park and Kahuku is what the Turtle Bay Resort currently provides. Our Kuilima development actually will open access for local people as never before. A 100-foot-wide public easement with a paved walkway will be created next to the beach and will connect the Kawela Bay dedicated park and a new 33-acre Kahuku Point Park. The parks and five public access points will provide 150 public parking spaces, with facilities to be maintained by the resort.
Last, and perhaps most misunderstood, the hotel and condo units envisioned in the resort plan will not be developed all at once. This project will be built over many years, infusing investment into the region and providing long-term and stable employment.
We are proud of the work we have done and the many employees and contractors who have transformed Turtle Bay Resort into a world-class destination. The Kuilima Resort Company looks forward to achieving the community-based benefits of our master plan and welcomes the opportunity to describe it and address the concerns of North Shore residents.
Hy Adelman is the project director for Kuilima Resort Co.