Mark Zuckerberg has added to his 1,500-acre Hawaiian estate, after acquiring a further 110 acres for $17m earlier this week.
The Facebook founder purchased land on the island of Kauai, a destination he regularly frequents when away from his Californian home.
As hawaii-estate-2021-12?r=US&IR=T”>Business Insider reports, included within the newly acquired plot of land is the Ka Loko reservoir, which was first constructed over a century ago. However, a number of serious issues have to be addressed before it can be deemed safe again, as its dam broke in 2006, killing seven people in the immediate vicinity after 400 gallons of water was released.
According to the Meta chief’s spokesperson, the reservoir is therefore considered high risk until it can be sufficiently repaired – which both Mr Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have since pledged to do.
“Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home at Ko’olau Ranch,” Spokesperson Ben Labolt said. “[The couple has] worked closely with a number of community partners to operate a working ranch, promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture and protect wildlife and look forward to expanding their efforts to include this additional property.”
Mr Zuckerberg first made waves in the region back in 2014, when he purchased much of the land he currently resides on for a sizable $100m. A few months later, he brought an additional 600-acre patch of land on Kauai, which included a public beach and a working cattle ranch for $53m.
From the outset, his sprawling estate has been the subject of much criticism from both environmental groups, as well as concerned island residents. Back in 2016, he angered neighbours by constructing a 6ft stone wall around the perimeter of his property, partially blocking access to Pila’s beach in the process.
A year later, he further strained relations with some concerned locals after his personal lawyers filed lawsuits against hundreds of disgruntled Hawaiians who staked claims to small pockets of land within the boundaries of the billionaire’s estate.
While the suit was eventually dropped in the interest of finding a “better approach” (in the words of Mr Zuckerberg), the damage was already done for several aggrieved neighbours.
“This is the face of neocolonialism,” Kapua Sproat, a law professor at the University of Hawaii told the Guardian in 2017. “For us, as native Hawaiians, the land is an ancestor. It’s a grandparent … You just don’t sell your grandmother.”