Thursday, December 10, 2009

"The Fourth Alignment" The La'a 'Aina Coalition (AGENCY AND PRESS RELEASE)


"The Fourth Alignment"

This is an alternative group being proposed by The La'a 'Aina Coalition in a last ditch attempt to do what is right for both the culture and the environment and the people of Kaua'i.

We believe due to the severe economic downturn that the current owner of the Coco Palms property is actively seeking a motivated buyer.  Our group is actively seeking a buyer with both philanthropic interests, an excellent environmental and cultural motivation and a willingness to invest, when partnering with our soon to be formed La'a Aina Foundation.

We will seek to form partnerships and seek one hundred percent private dedicated financing towards the purchase of the Coco Palms property for the express purpose of turning it into a multi use cultural park, education center, Museum/Memorabilia/Activity center, Hula Halau Pavilion, Crafts Pavilion, and picnic/park area with native vegetation and archeological restoration throughout. This would be a  gathering place, as well as becoming a prime example of what archeological and cultural restoration looks like when dedicated like minded individuals join in a concerted effort to take back their cultural and environmental assets.

The purpose of The La'a 'AIna Coalition, as the political action committee arm (PAC) is to propose a "Fourth Alignment" for the bike path, which will essentially stop the bike path at either entrance points of the property, then users of the path will enter and traverse a privately funded and maintained trail(IE no State or County Control) that will meander and traverse the property around any and all culturally sensitive areas in a path charted around both structures and burial sites and historical markers.

This solves all problems inherent with using either the Mauka alignment or the makai alignment, although our coalition favors a Mauka alignment, or an absolute break in the path if all else fails. Some of the issues that lead us to seek a path through the middle of the property with a crossing at Kuamo'o, and picking up the trail on the other side and routing it to the canal which will then end up at the "Safeway" alignment and crossing are really inherent on the double jeopardy determination by the Office Of Hawaiian Affairs.

According to the double determination by OHA, essentially what they are saying is that both routes will impede on sensitive cultural areas and burial sites. Therefore the only other two options are a highway alignment, which may be quite risky or a break in the bikepath, which no one wants.

Our proposal, hinging on the land aquisition, will be that the trail will be privately owned, a right of way given for traffic but that the liability will be assumed by the Foundation thus allowing control of the paths construction including width, surface area, signage and rules and regulations regarding its use. The right of way would be strictly for the operating of foot traffic, strollers, wheelchairs, but would more than likely not allow speedy "freeway" style bikeriding through it, but would more than likely require the walking of bikes through the property to reduce the occurance of any accidents, and be more culturally sensitive to the purpose of the property..

The County path would then resume outside the boundary of the property line. This essentially would be a "break" in the path, but still give the path "continuity", without a true break in it. It would take away the controversial usage of both the canal route and the makai route, and would address any concerns of any path going near any sensitive cultural areas. It would take the path safely away from the main highway.

 It would however, be an entirely different path than the one that the County is building and would be visually far less intrusive. We would not be looking at any deep drilling or digging. The path would be very simple. Signage would blend in with the environment and  the buildings and park itself would be monitored and patrolled so that it would be safe.

This would address many issues especially culturally sensitive ones. We feel that this is an all around good solution which is a win win for everyone. What we are asking people to do, is if you like this idea and concept of "The Fourth Alignment", please email, write letters or phone the Mayors office. Encourage him to put this option on the table and write it into his recommendations, so that the design team for the county can then conceptualize this into their plan, and public meetings can be held on it. .

Lets show the Administration that we can come up with solutions. Lets show ourselves that we can be independent and have something that is truly ours and take control of our sensitive areas again with responsibility. Lets show equity in how we treat our cultural and environmental resources.  Lets show the rest of the State that we can compromise and come up with good solutions to tough issues. After all, we are not the "governed" body, but the "governing body",. The Makaainana, the Kuaaina. EO.

The La'a Aina Coalition(PAC)
Anne Punohu

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