Powerful Message

Our friend Gabriel Talyor recently had a strong and beautiful letter to the editor waiting to be published by the Garden Island newspaper. It has been circulating around the island already on various email lists.

A slender young woman placed a sprouted coconut on the table, sat down in front of the microphone, introduced herself, and greeted the commissioners in Hawaiian. It was 8 pm in the cold, harshly lit county meeting room where the planning commissioners sat listening to public testimony. Combined, the two proposed resort/condo projects would total 547 multi-family units/hotel rooms and 964 parking stalls. And they would be located on the beach in the historic Waipouli coconut grove, the heart of Kaua‘i’s traffic hell.

The dozen of us that came to testify against the proposed beachfront resorts had been sitting on hard chairs for nearly seven hours. The morning’s agenda dragged on into the afternoon, but I dared not go out for more than bathroom break, because it could suddenly shift to the public hearings and all could be lost. I was stiff and hungry and I wanted to go home. But then something changed.

The young dark-haired woman spoke in a poetic form that is difficult to capture, but essentially, in a gentle way, she told riveting stories of how our life style on Kaua‘i is being transformed by the unleashed and insensitive growth of tourism. She took us on a journey into the heart of the Hawaiian people and its assault on their traditions. And she led us down a path into the soul of the ‘aina, our beautiful island whose shores are being gambled away in a crap game, and sold out to the highest bidder. When she finished, it was apparent that the atmosphere of the sterile room had risen to a higher level.

While I experienced a feeling of deep sadness, it was not one of despair. Rather, I gained a sense of strength and renewed hope. Hope to believe that we who are concerned about our quality of life and of that of the ‘aina, can successfully communicate with not only the County Planning Commission, but with all the powers that influence growth on Kaua‘i. In addition to presenting my own testimony, I knew that I had to do something more. And it was urgent. I knew that I had to communicate with my fellow Kauaians right away.

So here I am to tell you that if you are horrified by the vision of 1,000 more cars pouring onto Kuhio Highway, if you are worried about the stress of these proposed resorts on other infrastructure: water, sewage, solid waste, and if the thought of an additional 1,200 to 1,700 tourists filling up our parks, beaches, and hiking trails, causes you to clench your teeth, you can do something now.

You can testify about this proposed project without breaking your ‘okole on a hard chair for seven hours. You can write your thoughts, concerns, exasperation and frustration to the County Planning Commission today. They will be accepting written testimony (signed with your address) about this proposed project through the mail or fax up through Monday, August 28.

To: Kaua‘i County Planning Commission
Re: Testimony -Coconut Beach Development & Coconut Plantation Holdings
Send testimony by Fax: 241-6699 or mail to: 4444 Rice Street Lihue, Hi. 96766

It’s going to take all of us to work together to stop this train wreck of overdevelopment and to support reasonable growth on our beloved island. It is not enough to just grumble to our friends. Let’s step into our power and make our voices heard where it counts.

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/powerful-message/.
© 2017.

2 Comments   »

  1. Sara says:

    do u have any before and after pictures?

  2. Andy says:

    Hi Sara, this is one area where the opposition and delay caused the proposed development to never get permitted or started. Then the downturn came (in 2008-2009) and the projects were shelved. So it was a “victory” in this case, at least until the tourism and/or real-estate markets heat up again (as they are starting to do again now). You can see these areas easily in any satellite view, for examples:

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=kauai+courtyard+marriott&hl=en&ll=22.056607,-159.322529&spn=0.00433,0.006636&sll=22.056508,-159.322701&sspn=0.008661,0.013272&t=h&z=18&output=classic

    The two properties under consideration were on either side of what is now the Kauai Courtyard Marriott at the center of the view above. There is the large, mostly empty field to the SW and the half-coconut grove, half ironwood forest to the NE.

    Sadly, very recently, the smaller coconut grove to the NW, between Aleka Loop and the main highway was cut down and developed into a new Longs Drugstore–actually construction is still in progress. That was a quickly permitted project and nobody that I heard of had any input. It looks very large too, in what used to be a pretty and open grove of tall coconuts. I should go and get pictures of that…

    But to tell the truth, all these coconut groves are reaching the end of their lives at around 100 years or more. They have not been maintained or replanted since the land was sold into development, and more and more of the trees are dying of old age. I realized times are changing but I still believe they should’ve been replanted and preserved as part of Kaua’i’s legacy and current beauty. It’s one of the ironies of a tourist-based economy: much of the beauty and character that draws tourism is not officially preserved, and likely to be replaced at any moment by further development that seeks to cash in on the tourism and real-estate speculation. These coconut groves aren’t particularly spectacular, but they are very unique in Hawaii and give Kapa’a a certain amount of character–which would obviously be lacking if the trees were all replaced with stores and condos.

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