By: TRUSTEE ROWENA AKANA
Source: February 2006 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column
`Ano`ai kakou… Special thanks go out to the nine City Council members who, on December 7, 2005, voted to reject a settlement proposal that would have allowed private homes to be built in pristine Waimea Valley. The crucial vote paved the way for a new negotiated settlement between all interested parties that will eventually allow OHA to take ownership of the valley. Those community members who testified before the City Council to save the valley should be proud of a job well-done. As a Hawaiian, it fills my heart with joy that our state motto is alive and well. Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono
The new $14.1 million settlement will be paid for by the U.S. Army ($3.5 million, negotiated by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land), OHA ($2.9 million), DLNR ($1.6 million), the Audubon Society ($1 million, advanced by OHA), and the City ($5.1 million). Once the deal is approved by the City Council, Waimea Valley will finally be preserved in perpetuity. I am personally elated for the North Shore residents and environmental activists who brought this issue to OHA. None of this would have happened if it were not for their persistent efforts.
OHA will continue to be vigilant about former Ali’i lands that are up for sale. Negotiations are currently taking place between all parties concerned to preserve Moanalua Valley. I have no doubt we will succeed if we can generate the same cooperation and support that saved Waimea Valley.