Saturday, December 1, 2012

Musings: Cultural and Common Sense

What will it take to put the brakes on the county's plans for the Wailua Beach section of the Path so that we can find, to borrow the words of Councilman KipuKai Kualii, “the win-win solution so all the community can be behind it?”

Because given the testimony presented at the last Council meeting, a lot of folks are not pleased with the county's plan to spend $1.9 million ripping out the stone wall along the highway, removing 10 trees and placing concrete slabs that are 10 feet long, 9 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches thick on the mauka edge of an eroding beach.

The county is all set to go on Jan. 11, unless the administration can be convinced otherwise.

Those testifying in opposition to the plan raised cultural, environmental, fiscal and common sense objections.

“We stand here before you today as the people from there,” said Sherri Yokotake, who recounted a family geneology that includes births at Hikina`akala. “There's still families around who are actually stewards of the property being discussed.”

“To say they did this legally is one thing,” Sherri said, referencing administration comments that all the permits are in hand. “But for us, it's immoral. I'm not sure what I'm asking of you folks except to recognize we are totally against this. We are totally against anything going through that area.”

And by that she means nothing on the beach, and nothing linking the Path to Hikina`akala or the other heiau around the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel and Lydgate Park.

James Alalem warned the county that “darkness will fall if you continue this unpononess, this unrighteousness.” He said the federal Section 106 cultural consultations were “just formalities” because government officials already had their minds made up. “Our people's cries are not being heard.”

Councilman Mel Rapozo, who characterized the comments made by Hawaiians as "powerful,"  asked, "How do we ignore that testimony?" He said people would not support disturbing areas that Native Americans consider sacred, yet some seem to think it's OK to intrude on sacred Hawaiian sites.

Carl Berg, Carl Imparato and others suggested the county work with the state DOT to place the Path on the existing asphalt. Though it may mean narrowing the Path, Berg pointed out that the bike lanes on the new stretch of Kaumualii Highway in Lihue are only a few feet wide.

Others, such as Judy Dalton and KipuKai, questioned why the Path can't use the road that runs alongside the canal behind Coco Palms. The road already exists, so no burials would be disturbed. And as Judy pointed out, that route would be a lot more pleasant than having the Path run alongside Kuhio Highway, which will eventually be four lanes.

Caren Diamond and others raised the issue of whether it makes fiscal sense, or common sense, to proceed with the $1.9 million project as planned. “If you see a beach that's heavily eroding, why would you put public infrastructure there?" Caren asked.

Caren and others are concerned that a concrete Path, even if built in moveable slabs, will hasten erosion of Wailua beach. “That is a concrete structure along the shoreline,” Caren said. “That is a seawall. What is not known is how it will affect the beach structure.”

And if it accelerates erosion, as sea walls tend to do, the state could end up putting in an even bigger seawall to protect the highway, resulting in the total loss of Wailua Beach.

Thomas Noyes of Kauai Path was resistant to any of the proposed changes. “Things are in place to proceed based on the best knowledge and expertise that can be brought to bear on the project and it's time to move forward with the plans and they exist,” he said.

Still, he did say that the Path could be narrowed to the width of a sidewalk, though "then it wouldn't be a multiuse path and you'd have crashes, bicyclists running into other path users."

County Parks Director Lenny Rapozo also acknowledged the Path could be placed on the mauka side of the existing highway for the Wailua Beach segment, but that would require Path users to cross the highway in two places, raising “safety concerns.”

Caren said it's unclear what conditions would prompt the county to remove the Path. “It doesn't look like it's that temporary,” she said, noting that shoreline rules define "temporary" as something that lasts six months.

Both Mel and KipuKai questioned whether the county's SMA permit for the project is still valid, and if the project violates shoreline setback requirements. “Would we allow a developer to do what we are doing, in terms of not following our own rules?" KipuKai asked.

Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said he would be scheduling the issue for another meeting to address those questions and other concerns that were raised. Though the Council has no authority over money or permits for that particular stretch, Mel did suggest the Council had some leverage because it controls the release of funding for other sections of the Path.

In the meantime, the clock is ticking.....

20 comments:

Andy Parx said...

The real reason they have to connect the bike path through Wailua is because the original $60 million of federal money was for an Anahola to Nawiliwili "bike path" that had to be "primarily for transportation, not recreation" (unless the Secretary of Transportation personally signs off on an exemption... which has not happened). So if they don't connect the two segments the county might have to pay back the $60 million (Ooooo- watch the trolls come out to dispute this again). Oh and by the way- when this segment came before the council for funding approval they got the administration to say that if the council approved the funding, the administration would come back to the council for a sign-off on the final plan. But surprise, surprise- exactly as happened the other half-dozen times with the other segments (including the boondoggle to get the Safeway-Foodland Bridge built with bike path money), after the council released the money the administration went right ahead and did whatever they wanted and the council then claimed there was "nothing we can do about it."

Anonymous said...

We enjoy many parts of the Path for biking and walking and because they mostly have made sense. Cement on eroding beach makes no sense. Cutting trees makes no sense. But, I guess, 6 or 8 picnic tables (rest stops, drinking spots )on one tiny stretch of path (Kealia) also makes no sense.

Peggy Kemp said...

The Wailua segment as proposed makes no sense to me. But the multiple picnic shelters at Kealia actually does make sense to me, because there is little shade along the path, and some folks do need a rest spot where they can sit a spell. We live close enough to bring our dinner down to the shore of an evening and see the shelters are frequently used.

Anonymous said...

So why can't it go behind Coco Palms on existing road? And if Andy is correct, we are locked into this path all the way to Nawiliwili no matter what is said and done at this point. Which explains why Noyes is so dead set on moving ahead as is including Joann and Tim. And is that why the county settled on the land deal with the Lagoons to accomodate the path by the airport?

Anonymous said...

Once again we're looking at another case of the ineptitude of the county. They're great at wasting money for "feel good" projects instead of dealing with more important matters.

Andy Parx said...

Just wait until you see what they come up with for the golf course... so far a 30' high fence and under-grounding are two of the better ideas. And Moody (does he still own it) isn't exactly going to give us the Hanama`ulu shoreline without resort zoning in exchange. But whatever the administration does you can bet the council will eventually tell us "there's nothing we can do"... after they give up their right to do anything... I'd say, oh, around 2016 or so...

Anonymous said...

some monkey wrenchin' would help slow the project down too!

Anonymous said...

With the golf course, they should get it off the beach as much as possible. Run it like a raised boardwalk right through the golf course, down between 1st and 9th fairways, and 2nd and 8th, and cut back behind #3. Would need some netting for protection, but at least that way the non-golfer crowd could enjoy the scenery and the birds too and the golf course would not be so much of a subsidized special privilege, and the path would be well off the beach. Some of the golfers might grumble but it would not affect all the holes and maybe even that restaurant could turn someone a profit if the path passed right in front. Just an idea, bring on the troll assault.

Casey Law said...

Seawalls only affect erosion when the waves wash against it. That isn't the case at Wailua.
Saying that the widened road will cause the beach to erode away is misleading.

Anonymous said...

I truly wish James Alalem would stop representing himself as a Hawaiian. He does not have any Hawaiian blood, he is not educated, hanai or trained as a Hawaiian practitioner. He knows no Hawaiian language. It is shameful for him to call himself a Kahu. He does not know anything about being "pono."

Anonymous said...

Peggy - those pavilions were represented as rest stops along the Path for those using the Path as transportation. The Path is several miles long with many "rest stops' ganged up at Kealia and only a few for the other several miles. It was mis-representation. Yes, they are nice, I have used them too.
Also, what will be the effect of removing 10 trees that have been holding the sand for 40 years?

Anonymous said...

Mayor B. is always floating these half-baked ideas, like when he wanted to put the dump in the middle of the Kauai Coffee fields. Makes you wonder who the hell is advising him or is he just going rouge? I think there is always more to the story when he delivers these half-baked ideas! As much as I disliked Shay, I think there is more cleaning to do!

Anonymous said...

" He does not know anything about being "pono."

Do you even know what ╩╗Hawaiian╩╗ means?

For someone like you to criticize with the sharp against someone who is trying their best to protect the iwi kupuna, I have to ask you: What do you know about being pono.
Seems mostly haoles been throwing that word around.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, 5:43 pm - you are responding to 11:06 am?

Anonymous said...

One by one they will all fall down!

Anonymous said...

The corruption on Kauai is an example of how third world countries operate.

Is Kauai apart of the state of Hawaii and if so then why don't they follow the laws. How do they get away with all they do?

Anonymous said...

Utter BS Andy. Same old stale lies.

Anonymous said...

The Path was not sold as transportation only. No money will need to be paid back. The trolls are the old fools peddling that same old crap over and over and over. You lost.

Just how do you find a win-win with people who demand 100% surrender anyway?

Anonymous said...

"Unpononess" - yes that's exactly what an educated Hawaiian would use. HAH
I know him better than you, I can guarantee it. I think anyone who supports this Filipino is an absolute FOOL.
A decade or so, there was a homeless man named Jeffrey, who lived at the traffic light at Wailua Beach. He did a good job cleaned his little area, swept it with palm fronds and picked up the litter. This is basically what Alalem is - a homeless squatter who weedeats and mows that area and has hung out there for so long that someone gave him a key to the gate.

Anonymous said...

At least he's doing something to help. Seems like all you 're doing is talking shit.