2021 West Hawai‘i PrioritiesThe 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 nearly 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.
2021 Immediate Priorities
HAWAIʻI ISLAND ECONOMY
- Support initiatives to reopen the economy.
- Support small business rebuilding, reopening and recovery.
- Support federal, state, county and private funding opportunities and CIP initiatives.
- Support visitor industry to reopen economy and put community back to work.
- Recognize the visitor industry as the region’s main economic driver and support initiatives that promote responsible tourism and sustainable growth.
- Encourage HTA and county support and new visitor industry marketing initiatives.
- Support the Hawaiʻi Island Tourism Strategic Plan (TSP) and the Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP).
- Strongly urge revisions to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) revenue allocation to counties. Examine visitor impact, regional carrying capacity, revenue generation & neighbor island population growth.
- Support the ocean recreation tourism industry including monitoring Department of Land and Natural Resources actions in regards to harbors and marine life 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 Trail Systems.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, ADVOCACY & COMMUNICATIONS
- Gather and disseminate essential state and county proclamations, rules, policies and decisions that impact business.
- Serve as the communities’ liaison for important discussions with the legislative COVID-19 committees, and other working groups, as well as, state and county administrations.
2021 Key Focus Areas
ASTRONOMY & MAUNAKEA
- Support 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.
- Support the Rule of Law to keep Mauna Kea Access Road open and allow access.
- 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 initiative for a treatment facility for drug addiction, mental illness and stabilization services.
- Support implementation of 24/7 assessment centers.
- Support building all phases of Kukuiola.
- Support moving ‘The Friendly Place’ and concentrating services in one place.
- Support poverty prevention initiatives.
PERMITTING, PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
- Support improvements and efficiency to the state and county’s permitting and planning processes.
- Request that Hawaiʻi County share a ‘road map’ to the permitting and planning processes and offer regular public outreach and training.
- Seek clarity on county building code interpretation and implementation.
- Support and collaborate on planning and development of key infrastructure.
2021 Continued Priorities
AGRICULTURE & AQUACULTURE
- Support Kona coffee, cattle and other diversified agricultural and aquaculture farmers.
- Support programs for disease and pest prevention.
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 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 including geothermal.
- 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.
- Support initiatives that encourage indigenous 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 retention of State lease lands for Pōhakuloa Training Area.
- 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 a consistent and effective approach to COVID-19 and other pandemic testing and safety measures.
- 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.
- Broadband is the critical infrastructure of the 21st century and as such needs to be a public and private sector priority.
- 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.
- Support the completion of the new international arrivals terminal, master planned build-out, and other improvements to increase efficiency and capacity of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
- 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.
- CIP: Planning, design, engineering and construction of Waimea Elementary & Middle School Parking Lot.
- CIP: Planning, design and construction of Hapuna Beach Recreation Area domestic water line improvements.
- CIP: Waimea Deep Monitor Wells land acquisition and improvements to monitor aquifer.
- Support housing projects at all inventory levels and associated infrastructure.
- 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 in the region.
- Support Hawai‘i County’s efforts to rebuild physical and social infrastructure affected by natural and man-made disasters.
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 and implement findings.
Board Approved 11-25-20