Ewa Beach residents are riled up and showed up in force at a hearing Tuesday to express that anger.
Haseko Development wants to build a trail around a man-made lagoon that would include pavilions and viewing areas by the shoreline. Residents were invited to have their say on the project and many are angry because they believe it will cut off public access to the beach.
It was a packed house at Ewa Beach Public Library as the city’s planning and permitting department wanted to hear the public’s concerns about allowing Haseko Development to build the project.
Residents clearly wanted to be heard.
“This is a family community. We do not need more tourist activity all the way down here,” said Ewa Beach resident Shannon Martinez.
“All they’re thinking about is improving this, shutting the fishing areas out, shutting the surfers out. You guys gonna end up paying for parking,” said another resident.
As for the few people who spoke in favor of the project, the rest of them didn’t really want to hear it.
Haseko says some residents are spreading wrong information that is riling people up.
A spokeswoman for Haseko told KHON2 the project will actually provide more access. There will be a trail around the lagoon that will lead directly to the trail that leads to the shoreline.
“It’s frustrating that everything we’re doing is say come, we want you to come, we want you to come play here, we want you to come shop here, we want you to come dine here. We want the public to come and be a part of this and yet we still have some who insist on saying things that are not true,” said Haseko Development vice president Sharene Saito Tam.
Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Pine, who represents the district, has some misgivings about it. In a statement, she said “I support the lagoon concept if it is open to the public… Right now they have many buyers who have bought the lagoon concept and are discovering that they are not allowed to do certain things…”
Pine points out that children are not allowed to use certain watercraft at the lagoon, and while families can bring their own watercraft, they will be charged as much as a hundred dollars for it.
The city council will hold more public hearings on whether to allow the permit. We’ll let you know when they are scheduled.
The following renderings were provided by Haseko Development: