Kawa Bay security comes with a price


HILO — It will cost at least $552 nightly for a private security service to patrol the Kawa Bay property purchased by the county, according to bids opened Tuesday afternoon.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation is hiring a security company for three months beginning Friday, with an option to extend the security until Oct. 31. The company will be charged with closing and locking the gate at 6 p.m., performing sweeps of the property every two hours and then unlocking the gate at 6 a.m.

The county installed a security gate last year after evicting Abel Simeona Lui and a group of Native Hawaiians claiming indigenous rights to the 784-acre oceanfront parcel. The property, purchased with taxpayer money through the public lands and open space fund, remains in limbo as the county works with community groups on how best to proceed.

County officials have scheduled a public meeting today to address community concerns. It’s scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Naalehu Community Center. Mayor Billy Kenoi’s executive assistant, Karen Teshima, and representatives from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will be there to answer questions and take comments.

The security is necessary because the site contains a number of burials and other archaeological artifacts that are currently in the process of being inventoried prior to preservation. There have also been complaints about drinking and loud parties at the site, Teshima said.

The Hawaii Police Department is already stretched thin in Ka‘u, forcing the county to find another option for security.

Alii Security was the apparent low bidder with its $552 nightly bid, followed by RMP enterprise, which bid $566.40 a night and Global Protective, which bid $840 a night.