Wailua Bike Path Consideration

SUBHEAD: A letter on the Eastside bike bath at Wailua Beach that the Garden Island would not publish.

By Kip Goodwin on 10 December 2012 in Island Breath -

Image above: Current Wailua Beach erosion close to Kuhio Highway in front of abandoned Coco Palms hotel at Kuamoo Road. From (kas123@hawaii.rr.com).

[Author's note: After 9 days, 2 letters and email correspondence with the publisher, TGI has not printed this. On Sunday 12/9 they printed a press release from the mayor's office, disguised as a news story, "Ke Ala Hele Makalae rolling along". The referenced Council meeting has been on local government access tv every day since the 11/28 meeting. Kip]

The November 28th County Council meeting included a communication from Council member Kipukai Kuali`i to provide an update on recent extreme erosion at Wailua Beach and whether a proposed concrete multi use path on the beach should be relocated or scaled down.

The session featured a competition of photographs with photos taken by community members showing the washed away south parking lot last June and subsequent encroachment to within a few feet of Kuhio Highway. Other photos taken by Parks and Recreation Director Lennie Rapozo and Council Chair Jay Furfaro showed more recent sand accretion.

Whe public testimony was taken, six people expressed their disillusionment and disgust that the government is once again poised to pave over ground that is sacred to them in favor of development, this time in the piko of Hawai`i culture. Some said their traditional practices in that area are being threatened. Others said that memory of places is any indigenous culture's connection to the past and the culture suffers a slow death when that memory is severed. Others came forward to explain that beaches are dynamic in ways not fully understood and that static structures like the concrete slab path have proven to encourage beach loss.

Council Chair Furfaro shared that Coco Palms permits expire in January. An opportunity to obtain a strip of land for the path to go mauka, or for the highway to shift mauka, could arise in the ensuing planning process.

Council member Dickie Chang proposed a four foot wide crushed coral path makai the highway that can be walked in seven minutes, connecting multi use paths at the north and south ends of the beach. Information signs would describe Kaua`i's aloha for Wailuanuiaho`ano and commitment to preserving Kaua`i's fragile shore.

There was a proposal to narrow the traffic lanes, as was done on the H1 on Oahu, so highway and path can all go on the existing asphalt.

  These are sensible solutions. The beach environment is protected. There is a measure of respect for Kanaka Maoli. Taxpayers don't spend $1.9 Million that Building Division Chief Doug Haigh said is the cost. The makai lane won't be closed for three months. Since most path users are just out for a few hours of recreation it will have liitle impact on them. Bicycle riders who want to traverse the Wailua corridor can feel good about themselves for making a small sacrifice.

The photos taken over a four month period and shown at the 11/28 meeting represent a nanosecond in the history of sand movement at Wailua. Drawing hoped for conclusions from them to justify allowing this project is gambling with public funds. The Council and the Mayor should acknowledge that sea level rise and extreme weather events are already measured and recorded facts. Responsible civic leaders worldwide are formulating plans to retreat public infrastructure from the shore, not build closer.

Council Chair Furfaro said that Council rules and the Christmas break will almost certainly prevent the path issue from coming before the Council until January. Mr. Haigh said re- striping the highway is scheduled to begin right after New Year and the concrete slabs to go down starting Jan. 11. Kaua`i citizens have the right to expect that Director Rapozo and Chief Haigh will delay the start up and not obligate the taxpayer financially in the fabrication of path materials until options offered by Council members have been considered and questions asked of them by the Council have received satisfactory response.


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Ooo, dat don't look too good.

How about here... http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2009/12/bikepath-should-be-here.html

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