Community Groups to Rally to Save Kaka‘ako Makai from Residential Development
Saturday, April 21 9AM at Kaka‘ako Gateway Park
News Release from Save Our Kaka'ako Coalition
HONOLULU, HAWAII - Community groups will hold a public rally against residential development in Kaka‘ako Makai on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 9 a.m. at the Kaka‘ako Gateway Park on Ala Moana Boulevard at Cooke Street. The rally comes in opposition to HB 2819. At issue is the provision for an exception to current state law that protects Kaka‘ako Makai (lands makai of Ala Moana Boulevard) from residential development. HB 2819 would lift the residential restriction on two parcels transferred to OHA as part of its recent land settlement with the state.
HB 2819 was originally introduced by the Senate as SB 682; OHA has stated it did not solicit this measure. Over the course of the session, SB 682 stalled in the House but was kept alive when the Senate blended it into HB 2819 earlier this month. Meanwhile, the $200 million land settlement, void of provisions for residential development, was accepted by all parties and signed into law by Governor Abercrombie last week.
Groups including Friends of Kewalos; Save Our Surf; Hawaii State Bodysurfing Association; Defend Oahu Coalition (Keep the Country COUNTRY!); Free Access Coalition; The Outdoor Circle; Surfrider Foundation, Oahu Chapter; Hui O He‘e Nalu (Da Hui); Hawaii’s Thousand Friends; Sierra Club and the Kaka‘ako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council have come together to oppose HB 2819 as part of the Save Our Kaka‘ako Coalition. The Coalition believes the exception will restrict public access to the ocean and shoreline and set a dangerous precedent for future exceptions makai of Ala Moana Boulevard, urban Honolulu’s last public oceanfront land.
Friends of Kewalos President, Ron Iwami says, “Imagine a Waikiki with all the hotels located Mauka of Kalakaua Avenue with park and gatherings places on the makai side. It is too late for Waikiki, but it’s not too late for Kaka‘ako Makai. There are already a significant number of high rise residential developments on the mauka side of Ala Moana Boulevard and I know of at least 27 more that are planned, not to mention the state’s tallest (650 ft.) building. Where are all these future residents going to recreate? What will we share with our visitors in the future? We are asking Legislators to keep the makai land open for all people. Our worst fear is that it could open the door for more residential development, forever changing the face of Kaka‘ako.”
Saturday’s rally evokes recollections of similar rallies in 2005 and 2006 when Save Our Kaka‘ako and the public-at-large fought the sale of public lands and residential development in Kaka‘ako. With HB 2819 progressing through the Legislature, the groups are assembling once again. In addition to opposing residential development in Kaka‘ako Makai, the Coalition underscores the need to uphold the existing no-residential law and the HCDA’s Kaka‘ako Makai Master Plan developed, over a five year period, with significant community input.
The public is invited to join the rally and to wear red in a sign of unity.