Red shirts were much in evidence on the Makai side of Ala Moana Boulevard through Kakaako today.
Protesters don’t want OHA to change the landscape of this section of town. They say they are fighting for a law that was passed barring residential construction on this area.
“The coalition is not against OHA. We are not against the native Hawaiians. We are rallying on principle. The principle we are rallying on is, we want to keep the law intact.” Save Our Kakaako member Ron Iwami said.
One of the concerns, that the waterfront would be compromised and not available to all residents.
“It should be for all the people to enjoy, from the keiki to the kupuna, to the native Hawaiians – everybody. The ocean front land is an asset the public should be able to use.” Iwami said.
OHA trustee Peter Apo says the waterfront is secure.
“First of all, we have no intention of building any high rises for residential properties along the waterfront from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way out to the point.” OHA trustee Peter Apo said.
There is a law currently in place that prohibits residential construction in Kakaako Makai. OHA is trying to get an exception to that – so that the land can make money for OHA’s beneficiaries.
“We are not about to betray ourselves, betray our values and do highest and best use and start building things for the rich and famous of the world which is a model of development which is also prevalent in Hawaii today.” Apo said.
Apo points out only three out of the ten parcels now owned by OHA would be considered for residential development – Ewa end of the property, fronting Ala Moana Boulevard, a parcel near Kewalo basin and a fairly large parcel that is now being used as a parking lot.
Not everyone is convinced.
“They want to take the money now and run. But how is it going to affect our people and access to the ocean? Let’s stop it.” Save Our Kakaako member Lela Hubbard said.
OHA trustee Apo says the discussion should continue – and insists that his agency is doing what is best for native Hawaiians.
“And the check and balance is that the first people that would begin to scream at us if we do inappropriate development would be our own beneficiaries, Hawaiians. So, go figure.” Apo said.