Last night, Marti and I attended a community meeting in Nanakuli, along with over 100 community members who had come to make their voices heard on the latest draft of the Wai`anae Sustainable Community Plan. In this latest draft, the City/County has opted in favor of a “purple spot” proposal put forward by a land developer seeking to push through a “purple spot” industrial zone on agricultural lands in Lualualei Valley.
The public comments were overwhelmingly in favor of removing the purple spot, and keeping Lualualei as an intact, green agricultural zone.
To a person, every individual who gave testimony or comments, expressed their support of agriculture and the rural character of Wai`anae.
Said one Aunty, “I live on Hakimo Road, and I raise pigs. This is one of the last places where you can have pigs. I don’t want to see agriculture die in Wai`anae. I don’t see how we can continue to lose farmland, and continue on.”
Young people came out in force, and several gave personal testimony about the Wai`anae that they hoped for, for their future. “I came out today because I heard the words, ‘Sustainable Community Plan,’ and I thought we would be talking about how we are going to get more of our people growing food, building aquaponics, feeding people. What does an industrial purple spot, have to do with sustainability?” said Sydney, a college student and homesteader.
“I want to ask our youth, sitting here tonight, how many of them would farm today–right now–if they could,” queried Kamuela, a Makaha-born second-generation farmer. More than a dozen local youth raised their hands. Crazy inspiring.
Many had questions about why this particular “purple spot” plan was being proposed.
“Because we (the consultants) did feel the community to be so divided on this issue, we submitted two alternative maps to the County [one with the purple spot and one without]” said Harmonee, from consulting firm Townscape. “I’m not sure what process they used to decide that the [the purple spot map] would be the final map.”
What struck me most, is the basic idea that it is really some guy somewhere in offices in Honolulu, choosing the map–making this tremendously weighty decision for this community. I mean, someone who wasn’t even in that crowded meeting room last night. Can you have a community plan, without a community? How does that make sense?
Next steps: This draft of the plan goes before the City County Planning Commission, and then on to the City Council. We’ll be there, and we’ll keep you updated!
You can show your solidarity with this community today, by signing their petition at: http://bit.ly/purplespotaction.
Mahalo to Ilihia Gionson for the photo of the meeting!