HCDA needs to consider all of the Stakeholders involved before signing a 50-year lease with a mainland company!
`Ano`ai kakou… On April 11, 2012, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the historic $200 million settlement between the State and OHA. After many years of negotiations, OHA finally resolved all claims that were raised with the State relating to its portion of income from the public land trust from November 7, 1978 to June 30, 2012. The State fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee simple title to lands in Kakaako makai.
However, to our surprise, on June 7, 2012, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which has jurisdiction over Kewalo Basin, had agreed to lease the 143-slip harbor in Kakaako for 50 years to California-based marina operator Almar Management Inc. and a partner doing business as KB Marina LP.
The Almar partnership would finance $22 million in repair work to replace all piers and docks and would increase boats slips from 143 to 243. Almar anticipates the upgrades taking five years to complete and would pay HCDA about $45 million in rent over 50 years.
OHA owns the property along the Ewa side of the harbor including the former Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant area. Late last year, OHA asked HCDA’s board to delay a final decision on the renovation and expansion plans so that we could better understand how the harbor changes would affect our property.
Now OHA is feeling heavy pressure from both the HCDA and the Governor’s office to accept the harbor improvements, which include two “finger” piers that will extend from OHA’s Fisherman’s Wharf site. It is important to note that OHA was not aware of the HCDA’s commitment to the two finger piers prior to our signing the settlement agreement with the State. We did not know that there were “strings attached” to the properties.
OHA is counting on the Kakaako lands to someday generate the revenue needed to support our many Native Hawaiian programs. The properties are crucial to OHA and our future nation becoming completely self-sufficient.
The “Save Kakaako Ohana” is counting on OHA to develop our properties in a responsible and culturally sensitive way while preserving community access to the ocean.
If HCDA gets their way, OHA’s land will surely be devalued. We need our ocean front not only for its beauty and view, but also to be able to master plan our area as a whole. The last thing we need is a large cruise ship docked in front of our property. It is also ridiculous that the State believes $45 million is a lot of money over 50 years. In 50-years, the property will be worth a hundred times that amount!
Help us stop this insane plan by showing your support for OHA to retain its rights to its waterfront. Make your opinions known to the HCDA, your state legislators, and the governor’s office.
There are several bills introduced in the 2013 legislature that are threatening to cause deep divisions within the Native Hawaiian community. For example, HB 252 seeks to prevent Native Hawaiians who are not residents and/or Hawaii registered voters from participating in the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s enrollment process. The legislature should refrain from joining the contentious debate about who is a Native Hawaiian. That decision should be made by Native Hawaiians themselves. Aloha Ke Akua.