Opponents of Kumu Camp are collecting signatures against the Anahola tourism project to present to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands at its January board meeting.
The petition calls for closing Kumu Camp, which rents 10 “high end” tentalows, two yurts,15 campsites and a “mobile certified kitchen” on Hawaiian Homelands in Anahola. The petition states that the project “has created unnecessary controversy and dissent in our community.”
The petition also states that the developers, who include Kauai County Councilman KipuKai Kualii and Robin Danner, “have been operating without regard for the laws and regulations that protect our land, water, and culture.”
“There should be NO development of an area known as a site of 'iwi kupuna,” the petition states in bold lettering, referencing the presence of ancient burials.
The petition also expresses a “lack of support” for DHHL to award a permit for the adjacent parcel, Camp Faith, to the same developers.
As I previously reported, though Kumu Camp has been in operation for three years, it only recently completed an after-the-fact Environmental Assessment.
The DHHL board voted to defer accepting that EA at its November meeting, in response to community complaints about the project, including construction of an unpermitted, above-ground waste water treatment system.
According to Anahola resident Pat Hunter-Williams:
A petition to DHHL was circulated in 2012 expressing concerns about Kumu Camp and the lack of information shared by the developers before the land clearing began, along with the lack of the developers engaging the community in addressing concerns. Concern was expressed about the area known as the Anahola Sand Dune Burials and the environment. Unfortunately, that petition was never sent at the time, but was recently found and has now been sent to the DHHL Commission.
Opponents are bolstering that with the second petition that is now being circulated.
Pat also noted that DHHL Commissioners had asked people testifying at its October meeting, held on Kauai, if they would be agreeable to relocating Kumu Camp — perhaps to the Anahola Beach Park area (across from Smith's Beach). However, the developers did not think they should have to "compromise" with a relocation, Pat said.
This time of year makes me think of a much different "camp" — Koloa Camp. During the holiday season of 2011, Grove Farm sent out eviction notices to the 13 families living there. This created great anguish and angst, partly because of the timing, and also because many were longtime — even lifelong — residents of the former sugar plantation camp.
The state Legislature actually weighed in with a resolution urging Grove Farm to spare Koloa Camp. But the company refused to budge. Instead, it pushed ahead, claiming the evictions were needed to make way for an affordable housing project.
At the time, residents wondered why they had to get out before Grove Farm had even submitted its plans to the county, and whether the project would ever go. And now here we are, four years later, and those questions still remain. Why did Grove Farm evict all those local families, and then just let the property sit?