EWA BEACH, Hawaii (KHON2) — A proposed surf village with a 7-million gallon wave pool is getting pushback from the Ewa community.
They have filed a lawsuit that asks the Hawaii Community Development Authority to revisit the project.
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Oahu’s west side already has one wave pool, Wai Kai Wave, which opened in March.
A similar but separate surf village called Honokea West is in the works about 10 minutes away.
The project developers completed an environmental assessment which said it would have no significant environmental impact and that assessment was accepted by HCDA.
“We’re basically saying they need to redo the whole EIS process and go back to the beginning as well as we don’t believe HCDA should be issuing any permits related to this as well,” said Ryan Hurley, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.
A big issue is the water itself.
“Where are they going to get the water from? We know it’s going to come from the Navy system or that’s what the EA, the environmental assessment says,” Hurley said, “but what impacts will that have on the other aquifers that the the other water resources that Oahu uses?”
There is also concern over Hawaiian burials.
You had over 80 plus families that were living, cultivating land here. So, a lot of their descendants were buried in this area all over the place, you can’t really say where it is,” said Dayne Kahau, spokesperson for the plaintiffs.
The proposed site did not look like much on Wednesday, April 26 and those involved in the lawsuit want to keep it that way.
“But this is the number one surf site in the world,” said federal postal judge Keline Kahau, “Why do we need a wave pool? Why do we need two?”
“This affects all of us,” said plaintiff Summer Yadao. “Do we all not use water here? We all do. We all need it to survive the human race. So, it’s not about whether or not you’re Kanaka that you should care, you need to!”
Professional waterman and Honokea West’s owner, Brian Keaulana, said through a statement:
“As a descendant of generations of Native Hawaiian surfers and watermen, I am disappointed by the misguided accusations being levied against Honokea West. This project is motivated by my ʻohana’s love for the ‘āina, kai and our people. Honokea West will integrate Hawaiian values into every aspect of our guest experience and will share our surfing traditions and values.
We are aware of our island’s water concerns and will be integrating conservation into our operations. The project site in Kalaeloa has been in disrepair for decades. We’ve met with a number of Hawaiian cultural advisors and conducted extensive archaeological and environmental studies to ensure that we protect and mālama the site. We will mālama the area and cultivate the parcel into a center of cultural and recreational excellence where all feel welcomed and safe – especially disadvantaged youth and those with disabilities. Additionally, Honokea West will lead a life saving training program to ensure that future generations carry on the Hawaiian Lifesaving Legacy as watermen and waterwomen.
For far too long, surfing has made advancements on the backs of our Hawaiian culture. Honokea West will expand the world’s understanding about surfing and reinforce the inextricable tie between surfing and Hawaiian culture and values.”Brian Keaulana, Professional Waterman & Honokea West Owner
HCDA said it could not comment on the pending litigation.