Molokai Ranch’s Cut Coconut Trees – The Other Side of The Story

I may not have been around the Kaluakoi Golf Course as long as most homeowners on the west end, but I have been around the maintenance shop long enough to understand its operations and long enough to know the dedicated crew who works there. They take pride in what they do and have worked hard to bring the eighteen hole Kaluakoi Golf Course back to what it is today.

At one time, the superintendent who oversees these workers had a staff of eleven. This number has since dwindled to only five who have had to rely on close teamwork in order to maintain all 18 holes of the course.

Why would the course staff want to destroy their own hard work and the beautiful landscaping at Kaluakoi? One homeowner suggested it was vengeance, and that employees were acting out on their own because of the shut down. Hello! This is property damage and something that this crew would never attempt.

In fact, condo owners residing along hole 17 know about property damage. At one time they took it upon themselves to cut trees that were not on their property to get a better view of the fairway and green.

In light of the popularity that the ranch has been receiving I don’t expect community approval on much that the Ranch is doing. I am however appalled by the actions of the homeowners towards the staff. While a few homeowners have been sympathetic, many have acted out towards the staff yelling and hollering at them.

One resident confronted the backhoe operator that was moving tree trunks and refused to move out of the way. Others have argued for various solutions which just would not have worked.

There are two sides to the story to what happened. The workers are just as much being affected by the cutting of the coconut trees as the homeowners. The employees were under the pressure of a time frame to have things completed. It was explained that the taller trees posed a safety hazard. Since these trees were eventually going to be cut it makes sense that they be utilized to secure accessible areas of the golf course.

Please know that Ranch employees are hard working people who care for the environment as much as anyone on Molokai. Many of us have kept open minds about how to move forward during these difficult times – at this point, your patience and respect can go a long way in helping us toward this goal. 

Cathy Kawamae


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