The Maui 10
Who's the county's most powerful player?
January 18, 2007
RANK PREVIOUS COMPANY
1 Dowling Co.
4 Maui Electric
5 Makena Resort
8 Tesoro Hawai`i
9 Wailuku Water
6 Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
7 Alexander & Baldwin
10 Hawaiian Telcom
DAM INVESTIGATION DAMNS HC&S
Oooh, A&B is in trouble. Okay, maybe not actual trouble. But
they—or rather their subsidiary Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar—is
definitely in the hot seat. That's because the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers announced last week it will rigorously examine 11 dams across
the state, including HC&S's Reservoir 24 in Paia—mostly because of
their proximity to urban development, according to a Jan. 11 Honolulu Advertiser
story. The earthen Reservoir 24 dam, which has been in more or less
continuous operation since 1917, is one of four Maui dams classified as
"High Hazard" last year following the Koloko Dam disaster on Kauai. In
mid-March 2006, HC&S Plantation Manager Steve Holaday told The Maui News
that his company "does everything it can to actively manage the flow
into and out of the reservoir so as to protect the public's safety."
But that's not really what the Army Corps of Engineers found when they
conducted a "limited visual dam safety inspection" of the dam. In their
May 2006 report, the Army Corps found that the dam's downstream channel
was "unsatisfactory"—namely because it was "too small to contain flow
for this dam." And that posed a threat because "Houses exist along the
flood plain downstream of the dam." Indeed, the army engineers
determined that HC&S has used the dam for irrigation but kept the
accompanying reservoir dry since 1989 for exactly that reason, leading
them to conclude that "Urgent corrective action is required."
HOME SALES FALL
More bad news for local homebuilders like Dowling, Maui Land &
Pine and A&B: In 2006, according to the Realtors Association of
Maui (and a Jan. 9 Pacific Business News
story) just 1,088 single-family homes sold, which was down from 1,316
in 2005. What's worse is that people bought 2,050 Maui condos in 2005,
but only 1,210 in 2006. In addition, the median price of a
single-family stood in December at a paltry $632,500—a mere fraction of
the December 2005 price of $722,500, though the median condo price did
rise $70,000 to $472,500 during the same period. Of course, working
people still can't afford a home here, which means builders will still
be raking in some of that big money. MTW
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