Hawaii, Oahu, North Shore—Preservation of Pupukea-Paumalu (Save Sunset Beach)

Victory | June 01 2007

Coastal Preservation

The scenic bluffs overlooking the famous North Shore waves of Sunset Beach, Rocky Point and Pipeline were under threat of development from the Japanese Obayashi Corporation. Originally purchased in 1974, Obayashi presented plans in the late 1980’s to build a gated community with over 300 homes. Members of the North Shore community protested the plans, even filing suit after the city council approved the project despite overwhelming public opposition. The plans were eventually approved in 2003, but in the interim, with all the delays, Obayashi put the property up for sale in 2002 for $12 million; At this stage, on one of his visits to the North Shore, Surfrider Japan’s Masuo Ueda spoke with Blake McElheney a prominent leader in the fight to stop the project, about the idea of approaching Obayashi to purchase the property. Jack Johnson made a personal appeal to Obayashi executives while on tour in Japan, and the preservationists were told that Obayashi would consider it. Local fundraising initiatives began, and an all-volunteer coalition of citizens and business leaders was formed to find money to buy the property and to place it in reserved public lands. That group, the North Shore Community Land Trust, gained widespread community support. The coalition eventually included backing by the state, the city, the military and federal agencies, which contributed to the purchase price of approximately $8 million. The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit group, helped to steer and complete the purchase of the land for transfer to the state and city. Fundraising for Pupukea-Paumalu continues in an effort to support the coordination of community planning and stewardship activities so that residents, visitors and surfers from around the world will be able to enjoy the property in perpetuity. The North Shore Community Land Trust has set up a special restricted savings account for the Pupukea Paumalu Stewardship Fund. All tax-deductible donations to this fund are designated specifically for the acquisition and protection costs for Pupukea Paumalu. The Oahu chapter played an important role in keeping the fight alive for more than 10 years, by giving financial assistance for the lawsuits, by bringing key players together such as the Trust for Public Lands and the Japan Chapter, and by spreading the word around the world about what may happen to our treasured North Shore.

Coastal Preservation

Beaches are a unique and dynamic landscape that should be protected for the future. The Surfrider Foundation is leading efforts at the state and local levels to protect our shorelines on every coast. Our efforts are focused on establishing appropriate setbacks for development, opposing shoreline structures, and placing coastal lands in public trust.

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Staff Contact

Stuart Coleman, HI Coordinator