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Economic Opportunity

About the Economic Opportunity working group
Preliminary Themes, Goals, and Objectives from the Small Group Meetings

These themes (recurring ideas) were derived from 130 small group meetings conducted across the Puna district.

Preliminary Themes (ECON – OP;TR; SID; PLAN - CC)
  1. Create More Local Job Opportunities
  2. Encourage Sustainable Industries (Green Building, Bio-Fuel, Renewable, Organic, Eco-tourism, etc.)
  3. Support Small Businesses
  4. Encourage the Building of Village/Town Centers
  5. Increase Vocational Training
  6. Encourage Closer Shopping & Dining Options
  7. Encourage More Entertainment Options (movie, nightlife, etc.)
Preliminary Goal: To Support the Development of a Vibrant Local Economy

Preliminary Objectives

These objectives have been derived from themes generated from 3,394 ideas provided by broad citizen participation. The numbers in parentheses indicates which theme or themes were used to develop the objectives.

A. Provide living wage job opportunities for the current and future generations (1)

B. Support sustainable industries that capitalize on Puna’s comparative advantage in terms of unique environmental and regional conditions (2)

C. Encourage development of small local businesses (3)

D. Support the creation of incentives for increased commercial activities through the building of Village/Town Centers (4)

E. Support the creation of more community- based workforce development opportunities (5)

F. Diversify retail, entertainment and shopping opportunities in appropriate areas of Puna (6,7)


Excerpts from Previous Plans

Considerable time, thought, and community-wide effort has been applied to the issue of Economic Opportunity in Puna over the past decade or more, resulting in a number of plans that have made specific recommendations. Pertinent excerpts from those plans are below.

"Unlike Hilo or Kona, Puna relies mostly on a few key economic productions. The County of Hawaii General Plan (2005) makes mention of only a handful of economic utilities. Puna is mainly an agricultural district. Over 90% of the State’s papaya production occurs in Puna, more specifically in the Kapoho area. In addition to papaya, the region also produces cut flowers, banana, various exotic fruits, vegetables, coffee, avocado, honey, awa, macadamia nut, and some livestock. Factors that currently limit the growth of these industries are labor, housing, processing plants, and plant disease."

"There are other contributions to Puna’a economic stability. Some tourism/visitor establishments in the form of bed and breakfast suites and vacation/rental operations have taken a foothold. Several attractions such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the former Kaimu Black Sand Beach, and the Painted Church bring visitors to Puna."

"Kamehameha Schools East Hawaii Campus opened in the fall of 2001 with the ability to accommodate a student population of approximately 2,300 in grades K-12 and become a major employment generator."

"Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) began operations on April 21, 1993 producing 30 megawatts of energy to supplement the Hawaii Electric Company (HECO). Currently under a term mining lease with the State, PGV plans on increasing electrical output to 60 megawatts. Geothermal energy production also has the potential to draw small-scale industries that utilize waste heat produced by geothermal energy production. Examples of industries that can utilize waste heat are lumber drying, cloth dyeing, and aquaculture."

The County of Hawai'i General Plan, adopted by ordinance in 2005, sets the land use and community development policy for the County of Hawai'i, and is intended to serve as a guide for state and federal government and private sector, as well.

"Courses of Action:
Assist the further development of the agricultural industry by providing support services to commodity groups and other organizations such as farmer’s cooperatives, protecting important agricultural lands, and requesting and providing necessary capital improvements.
Resort growth should enhance and be in keeping with the area’s rural character.
Assist the fishing industry through a cooperative effort with State and Federal agencies.
Support the development and utilization of geothermal resources and by-products consistent with the environmental, social, economic and other goals expressed elsewhere in the General Plan."

In 1995, the County of Hawai'i secured the services of a consultant to complete the Puna Community Development Plan. While it was not adopted, this document sets forth some specific recommendations for economic opportunity:

  • Encourage the State to construct an access road and boat ramp on the lava accretion land next to Kapoho Bay.
  • Ask the State Department of Transportation to consider the possibility of constructing a ramp or a small boat harbor at Makuu.
  • Support the development of an incentive program, within an operative overall energy management program for the County that would increase the use of electric vehicles, thereby storing energy and allowing increased use of geothermal energy in off-peak hours.
  • Geothermal development and transmission corridors should be dispersed along the east rift and the Geothermal Subzones so that sources are limited to 20% or less of the island base load in any one-mile section.

In addition to these County-sponsored plans, a community-initiated plan for Volcano makes the following recommendation for economic opportunity:

"Plan for the development of small-scale enterprises that are consistent with our goal of seeing economic growth while preserving the current rural atmosphere and can be supported by appropriate infrastructure. Well-planned enterprises such as small cottage/home business which would have minimum impact upon the appearance of the Volcano area, agricultural operations, bed & breakfast businesses, and eco-tourism should be encouraged."

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Upcoming Events
Kona CDP Action Committee Meeting May 14, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Kona Imin Center - 76-5877 Old Government Rd, Hōlualoa, HI 96725
North Kohala CDP AC Meeting 05.20.2019 May 20, 2019 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Hisaoka Gym Conference Room (54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapa'au, HI)
Puna CDP Action Committee Meeting 05.21.2019 May 21, 2019 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility (15-3022 Kauhale St, Pāhoa, HI 96778)
South Kohala CDP Action Committee Meeting Jun 03, 2019 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Kailapa Community Association Pavilion - 61-4016 Kai‘ōpae Place, Kawaihae, HI 96743
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