HONOLULU (KHON2) — A construction project in Waimanalo is now on hold.
That’s after a human bone fragment was found at the site at Sherwoods.
The mayor says it’s an upper arm bone about three inches in length.
This project has drawn some public opposition since last year.
The mayor provided the following statement:
After months of discussion with community groups both in support and in opposition to this project, a completely new plan for the site at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park emerged that would allow for a grassy field for community members to gather, learn the history and culture of this area, and be a space for keiki to play. I am hopeful the invasive trees we removed would be replaced with native and indigenous trees and vegetation.
Yesterday our contractor found a three inch iwi fragment within the project area. The contractor immediately followed all protocols when this type of inadvertent discovery is made. This afternoon, we met with the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) on site as well as Waimanalo community leaders. We have also been in close contact with members of Save Our Sherwoods and others. The direction from the SHPD is that when there is this type of “inadvertent find,” the project may still move forward with a protective buffer respecting the area around the site and temporary protective measures for the iwi that was found.
My greatest concern is for the health and safety of our community. As you know, we have an order for everyone in our community to stay at home except for essential workers or those engaged in certain essential activities. I greatly support the first amendment rights of all members of our community, but I am greatly concerned with gatherings during this time. Therefore, in order to allow for people to focus on staying at home during this time, I am going to pause this project while we consult with the appropriate entities. We will continue to consult with officials from SHPD and the Oahu Burial Council.
I continue to believe this is a project that can be valuable to the future of the Waimanalo community. I urge everyone to continue to follow the stay at home order to keep yourselves and your family safe during this time.
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