As Ala Moana Center continues to grow, so do residents’ concerns. The mall’s plan to keep construction going at night has many living in the area unhappy.
We first told you about this last October when residents expressed their anger at a meeting with the mall and the contractor. They said then that they’ve already put up with the noise, traffic and dust from the construction of the mall’s Ewa wing expansion during the day.
Now, Ala Moana has scaled down its plans to work at night with the hope of getting the state’s approval. The proposal does take out some of the elements that riled up area residents, but some of them still say that any construction at night is more than they’re willing to put up with.
“We won’t be able to sleep, just listen,” said Chami Purananandi, whose condominium is located directly across the Ewa wing expansion. With no central air conditioning, he’s dreading the possibility of night work.
So do Dave and Mary Ann Berry, whose lanai faces the mauka garage expansion. “Let’s face it, it all comes down to greed,” Dave said.
After drawing anger with the initial application for a noise variance, Ala Moana has revised the proposal taking out concrete pours and installing canopies. But the contractor, Hawaiian Dredging Company, would still like to do some electrical work at night when the mall is closed. Water pumps will also be used after deep excavation.
“That requires the use of generators,” said Scott Creel of Ala Moana Center. “When those are used, we will build sound barriers and use other sound dampening techniques to mitigate the sound that might come from that.”
Creel points out no large machinery will be used, so the noise won’t be anything like what’s heard in the day. But some residents say any night work opens up a can of worms.
“Once they have that permit, I’d make a pretty good wager they’re going to go beyond what they need to do at night,” Dave Berry said.
Ala Moana has met with area residents and asked them for feedback to the revised plan, but some of them say the mall is only telling them what they want to hear.
“They’re a mainland company. They don’t have local people at the top anymore so it’s kind of hard to believe them,” said Mary Ann Berry.
Ala Moana says reaction from the residents has been more favorable to the revised plan and will re-submit the application by the end of the month.
The State Department of Health will review the application and if it decides that the mall has not addressed the concerns of the residents, then it could schedule another public meeting before making a decision.