Wailua Beach "Elephant Path"

SUBHEAD: The proposed Bikepath will disturb ancient Hawaiian burial sites and will be subject to erosion, increasing storms and rising ocean.

By Ray Catania on 22 December 2012 for Island Breath -

Image above: BEFORE - September 2009 graphic simulation rendering by proponents of bike path route over a beach that no longer exists. From (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2009/09/paths-plan-not-cut-in-stone.html).

Image above: AFTER - June 2012 photo of area where bike path is proposed. From (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2012/06/wailua-beach-erosion.html)

[Editor's Note: Years ago, viable alternate routes for the bike path were proposed (see article links below), but the County and State have stubbornly stuck to the beach plan.  Recent erosion and rising shorelines have made this a ridiculous course of action.  Island Breath supports a bike path, but not one on the iwi, or on the beach.]

As volunteer caretakers of the Wailua Heiau system under the guidance of Uncle Joe Manini, we are adamantly opposed to the building of a bikepath on Wailua Beach or even "mauka of it" as the Mayor's administration falsely claims. Wailua Beach is an extremely sacred place where Kauai's first people landed and later buried their ancestors to return back to the sea from where they came. Their iwi (bones) have turned into vital sand that rings this beautiful beach.

No one has the right to use this area for recreational transport. We can remember the Mayor's meeting on the bikepath a few years ago at the Convention Hall, the planner showing slides on the path, excitedly saying that areas of it reminded him of beachfront California. Opportunistic newcomers intent on making a buck off of Kauai should stop trying to transport their ideas of what socalled "paradise" is to our islands.

Why is our Mayor so helibent on building this path? Is he trying to develop it as a free amenity for eastside hotels and as part of a grand resurrection of the Coco Palms resort he so desires, a creation that sits smack dab in a dangerous tsunami zone? The planned Waipouli bikepath "C and D" will also destroy 19 burial sites that front the shoreline where the County Planning Department has given the permission to build 3 more timeshare hotels. Wailua Beach alone will cost taxpayers more than $1.9 million federal dollars, money that path supporters don't want to lose in other words it's all about the money.

Western materialist culture is stuck on the idea of "my personal right to go anywhere I please" especially if one has the financial power and influence to do so. This selfish thinking has got to stop when it comes to the destruction of Kanaka sacred places. It's not a racial thing it's everyone's responsibility to respect the culture of Hawaii's first people. All the chanting and the parading of cultural practitioners that the Mayor's office has conjured up to support this development, can't coverup the greed involved and the environmental imbalance that will be created.

Each so called "removable concrete" slab will be 10 feet by 8 feet and up to 1.5 feet deep. This will be laid over part of the beach and each will weigh about 15,000 pounds, and be as heavy as an elephant. It's now safe to call this tragedy "the Elephant Path". The path's route will arrogantly bypass the County's Ordinance 887 which states that there should be no shoreline development under the 40 foot high water mark. Chip Fletcher with Hawaii Sea Grant said during a Kauai County Council meeting on December 9, 2010 that, "With the ocean rising as it is right now, with lots of erosion going on with global warming it makes no sense to build close to the ocean".

Our County government should be more concerned about shoreline dynamics and erosion as well as rising sea levels due to global warming and how it will affect Kuhio Highway in the near future.

Some culturally insensitive proponents for the Wailua Beach path remind us of folks that would belligerently walk into our homes with their dirty shoes on.

• Contact Ray Catania at (808) 635-0835 or email mayllnineteen7l@gmaii.com

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Wailua Bike Path Consideration 12/10/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Bike Path should be here 12/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: No Path on Wailua Beach 9/17/09

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