2020 West Hawai‘i Priorities (Detailed List)The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce exists to provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi. Established in 1968, our 501(c)(6) non-profit organization includes 500 member businesses and organizations that represent a variety of industries in the Kona and Kohala districts on the West side of Hawaiʻi Island. As an organization that represents business interest with government, we believe the following priorities will improve business opportunity in the region, strengthen our local economy and promote the well-being of our community.
Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Top Priorities and Focus Areas (alphabetical order)
ASTRONOMY & MAUNAKEA
- Support the astronomy industry on Maunakea noting significant scientific discovery, global leadership, educational outreach, workforce pipelines, jobs and economic impact.
- Support the development and future operations of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
- Support culture, science and environmental stewardship on Maunakea.
- Encourage a new State lease for the University of Hawai‘i on Maunakea.
- Expect the State of Hawaiʻi and County of Hawaiʻi to keep Mauna Kea Access Road open and allow safe access for all.
- Support the current Maunakea management structure through UH Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) and their stewardship initiatives.
- Support Maunakea Administrative Rules.
- Support Hawaiʻi County Mayor Kim’s published plan titled A Way Forward: Maunakea.
- Support Federal, State and County programs that provide immediate relief to homeless.
- Encourage stabilization services including drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.
- Support Hawai‘i State Department of Health in converting the old Kona courthouse in Kealakekua next to Kona Community Hospital into a treatment facility for drug addiction, mental illness and stabilization services for the homeless population.
- Support implementation of 24/7 assessment centers in Kailua-Kona and Hilo.
- Support poverty prevention initiatives.
- Support implementation of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and other enforcement strategies for the safety/security of the general public and businesses.
- Support education on trespass procedures for the private sector and initiatives such as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
- Support improvements and efficiency to Hawaiʻi County’s permitting processes and procedures.
- Serve as a conduit to Hawaiʻi County for community input on permitting reform.
- Request that Hawaiʻi County share a ‘road map’ to the permitting process and offer regular outreach and training to the public about their permitting system.
- Seek clarity on building code interpretation and implementation from Hawaiʻi County.
Additional Priorities (alphabetical order)
AGRICULTURE & AQUACULTURE
- Support Kona coffee, cattle and other diversified agricultural farmers.
- Support initiatives that promote the region’s aquaculture industry including accelerator programs.
- Support programs for disease and pest prevention (Rat Lungworm, Coffee Berry Borer).
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE
- Support growth of Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui campus, programs and staffing.
- Support expansion or establishment of programs that feed directly into the region’s key industries including the visitor industry, agriculture/aquaculture, astronomy, aviation, business, education, healthcare, marine and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & math) endeavors.
- Support increased community outreach from Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui.
- Support workforce development, training, mentoring and internship programs.
- Support emergency training and medical certifications.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
- Support clean energy goals to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Support renewable, reliable and affordable energy solutions.
- Support energy efficiency measures.
- Support programs that reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Recognize climate change impacts and support measures addressing this issue.
- Support initiatives that promote clean coastlines, coral reef health and ocean conservation.
- Support initiatives that address and manage invasive species (Little Fire Ants, etc.).
- Support initiatives that encourage re-forestation.
- Support the State of Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy goals including 100% clean energy by 2045.
- Support pro-business initiatives.
- Monitor tax legislation.
- Support the U.S. military’s training mission at Pōhakuloa and a new State lease for Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA).
- Support the planning, design and construction of a new State office building along the corridor between the West Hawai‘i Civic Center and recently completed Hawai‘i State Judiciary complex to provide better government services accessibility and jobs.
- Monitor Hawai‘i County’s General Plan process and procedures.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
- Advocate for a new hospital in West Hawai‘i.
- Support increased and expanded health care services for West Hawai‘i.
- Encourage programs and incentives to attract more providers.
- Support development of mental health care services and facilities in West Hawaiʻi.
- Promote health and wellness initiatives for businesses and the community.
- Capital Improvement Project (CIP): Widen Hawai‘i Belt Road (Route 11) between Lako Street and Kamehameha III Road.
- CIP: Support completion of the last phase of Ane Keohokālole Highway between Hinalani Street and Kaiminani Drive. Include walk and bicycle paths for this road.
- CIP: Plan, fund and implement connection of Honokōhau Harbor’s sewage system to Kealakehe Parkway for delivery to the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant and connect reclaimed water pipes from Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway along Kealakehe Parkway into Honokōhau Harbor.
- Support affordable housing projects in West Hawai‘i and associated infrastructure.
- Support the master planned buildout of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole and other improvements to increase efficiency and capacity including the establishment of a Hawai‘i Airport Corporation.
- Support funding and improvements for Honokōhau and Kawaihae Harbors.
- Support the Saddle Road Extension to Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.
- Encourage walk and bicycle paths for all roads.
- Support Hawai‘i County Transit Plan and encourage multi-modal transportation and infrastructure.
- Support initiatives and programs that reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Hawai‘i Island roadways.
- Support water resource development, preservation, maintenance and protection.
- Support wastewater reclamation and recycling, including improvements to Hawai‘i County’s Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant.
- Support Hawai‘i County’s efforts to rebuild Puna’s physical and social infrastructure affected by the Kīlauea eruption and Hurricane Lane.
INNOVATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Support initiatives and policies that promote business innovation and economic diversity.
- Support the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA) as it furthers its mission to develop and diversify Hawai‘i’s economy by providing resources and facilities for energy and ocean-related research, education, and commercial activities.
- Examine minimum wage legislation in the State of Hawai‘i to determine the impact on businesses, especially the small business community.
- Encourage and support economic impact studies.
- Recognize the visitor industry as the region’s main economic driver and support initiatives that promote responsible tourism and sustainable growth.
- Strongly urge revisions to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) revenue allocation to counties. Examine visitor impact, revenue generation & neighbor island population growth.
- Support the ocean recreation tourism industry including monitoring Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) actions in regards to harbors and manta site management.
- Expect the State of Hawaiʻi and County of Hawaiʻi to keep Mauna Kea Access Road open and allow safe access for all, including commercial tour operators and visitors.
- Support improvements to State of Hawai‘i’s Pololu Trail – a popular attraction that creates visitor traffic and economic activity in North Kohala.