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When tourists come to Oahu, they often hit Waikiki Beach, visit the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, hike Diamond Head. Soon, they may be able to add zip lining to the list.
There’s a plan to install a zip line above an Aiea neighborhood.
It’s still in the early stages, but if all goes as planned, it would be Oahu’s first stand-alone zip line adventure.
The neighbor islands already have several zip line operations.
At the very back of Royal Summit in Aiea, at the end of Kaahele Street, there’s a fence. Beyond the fence is a piece of untouched paradise.
Towne Development of Hawaii owns 447 acres of land above Royal Summit.
Towne has no plans to build homes there, or even a golf course, which was one of the original ideas.
But rather, the company wants to install a zip line and reached out to Maui-based Flyin Hawaiian Zip line.
“There is no better way, no lighter footprint to tour the land than a zip line. You’re actually not setting foot on the land, you’re flying high above it,” Flyin Hawaiian Zipline CEO Duane Ting said.
Flyin Hawaiian Zipline takes customers on a 2.5 mile sightseeing adventure through the West Maui Mountains.
“Flyin Hawaiian would be almost exactly like what you’d see here, on a little smaller basis. We’ll start from the top and work our way down across six different side by side lines, ending up in this spot here,” Ting said.
Zipline riders would get a bird’s-eye view of the lush greenery and Ewa plain in the distance.
The area owned by Towne Development is zoned P-1 conservation.
Ting says they hope to get their environmental impact and biological surveys done by next month.
“And then we’ll go before the Land Board and see if they’ll give us permission to put a zip line in this area. And if they do that, then hopefully it’ll take us six months to do the construction,”Ting said.
Flyin Hawaiian Zip line is big on conservation.
“One of the things we want to do and take pride in, in rejuvenating the native plants and taking out the invasive plants,” Ting said.
Ting and a representative from Towne Development have already met with the Newtown Estates Community Association’s Board of Directors, which is made up of residents.
“My personal view is upbeat. As an individual resident of Hawaii, I look at is as favorable. We should be encouraging people who own businesses that want to get people employed and do all the right things. Why throw a roadblock in the way when they’re trying to do everything by the book?” NECA Board of Directors President and Royal Summit resident Don Devaney said.
But some residents have concerns such as introducing more strangers to their neighborhood.
“Right now, I think there’s more access than there will be when we have an operation up here,” Ting said.
Despite the no trespassing sign, hikers, hunters, and bike riders still use the area.
Ting says if they build a zip line, they plan to have security presence around the clock.
Residents are also concerned about having all the customers drive through their neighborhood to get to the zip line.
“We’re not having any cars come up. It’s one van coming up every half hour and going back down,” Ting said.
Residents also have concerns about potential visual impact.
“Those towers right there are over 80 feet tall and they can’t see it. And we’re talking our platform is going to be eight feet,” Ting said.
Regarding liability issues, if anyone gets hurt while riding the zip line, the landowner would be responsible and not the community association.
“We want something that’s good for everybody. We want something that’s good for the Newtown residents, as well as what’s good for Oahu and the tourism and visitor industry,” Ting said.
Towne Development and Flyin Hawaiian Zipline will hold a meeting on Friday, June 28, 2013 at the Newtown Rec Center starting at 7 p.m.
All residents are welcome to attend.