“Hoarders” Foul Opening of Pahoa Re-Use CenterTuesday, September 6th, 2011
County closes facility until Novemberby Alan D. McNariePahoa’s dream of a re-use center at its transfer station has beendeferred.
Less than a month after the facility was opened, it’s closedagain.”The Reuse center has been temporarily shut down. We had been tryingto run it with volunteers, and it did not work,” Hunter Bishop,executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi, told Big Island Weekly.
The reason, in one word: greed. For several days before the shutdown,entries at the “Opala in Paradise” Facebook page complained about”hoarders” who were grabbing items the moment they arrived, possiblyto sell at a local farmer’s market.
Some of the scavengers allegedlywere even approaching cars before their owners could unload.”There was a woman who was willing to be there most of the time,however there were problems controlling the flow of materials in andout,” Bishop said. “People would want to take items as soon as theycame in to the center — take them, leave, come back, take them againas soon as they came in.
It wasn’t a fair or desirable way to controlthe center.”The county has just put out a Request for Proposals soliciting bids torun the center, located at the Pahoa Transfer Station, along withother re-use centers at Kea’au, Hilo, Hawi, Keauhou, Kealakehe andWaimea stations.
The deadline for bids is September 30; Bishop expects the Pahoa station to be open again by November. While the county was soliciting the bids, it would be enclosing the center at Pahoa so that access could be managed more easily.
Like the other re-use centers, the Pahoa center was intended as adrop-off point where people could leave usable items they didn’t want, and other people could pick them up. Some of the other centers, suchas the one at Laupahoehoe, are run by community volunteers.
But Bishopnoted that the volunteer-run stations were only open three days aweek. Pahoa, like the county’s first such center at Kea’au, was openseven days a week.At one point, the county contacted Starsha Young of Keep HawaiiBeautiful for help in managing the Pahoa center.
“We found the condition messy but manageable,” reported Young in aFacebook entry. “We stayed and we were able to come up with fourlovely volunteers to help us ‘Keep an Eye’ on the station. We will bethere tomorrow morning again….
I planned to make a list ofvolunteers and from there we can meet and discuss how to put inshelving and rotate the monitoring of the station.”But within days of that entry, Bishop announced the center’s temporary closure.