With Hawaii Losing Access To Its Popular Beach, Debates Over Rising Sea Levels Intensify

With Hawaii Losing Access To Its Popular Beach, Debates Over Rising Sea Levels Intensify

At the well-known condominiums at Kahana Sunset in Hawaii, the resort has lost access to its beaches. Not by choice, but because of erosion and rising sea levels.

This has not happened overnight, as the resort has been witnessing these natural phenomena for decades. Over the past few years, the resort’s staff has been trying to combat erosion, to save the beach.

However, some residents of the rental resort urge officials to stop trying, because the damage has already been done. For the health and safety of the residents, some say it might be best to invest in removing the property altogether.

Of course, this is hard news to hear, especially since Kahana Sunset has been up and running since 1971. There were six buildings associated with the condominium property when it first opened.

When the building was fabricated in the seventies, it was 15 feet away from the Maui shoreline. With erosion and rising sea levels, that distance reduced dramatically, and by 2014, the shoreline was only 8 feet away from the condos.

Unfortunately, today, the ocean meets the building—there is barely a shoreline anymore. In July 2020, the condominiums had to close; not because of the shoreline, but because of structural damage that was determined as dangerous to residents.

Since the building is vacant, it is controversial that the condominiums are still standing. If they weren’t, some experts say, there would be a beach where the buildings now stand.

Kahana Sunset isn’t the only place that’s being ravaged by natural disasters.

Several beaches in the state of Massachusetts have experienced similar damage. Moreover, climate experts predict that the state of California could lose up to 70% of its beaches by the end of the century.

In Hawaii, advocates for the Kahana Sunset condominiums are not giving up.

Recently, the building was approved to undergo renovations, assuming the owners move the structure or destroy it in the future. We’ll have to stay tuned to see the fate of the condos and the Maui beachfront.