The Outdoor Circle criticizes city over rail trees - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

The Outdoor Circle criticizes city over rail trees

Mary Steiner Mary Steiner
Wayne Yoshioka Wayne Yoshioka

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About two dozen shower trees are still standing tall along a traffic median on Farrington Highway. Eventually, they'll be moved to Nimitz Highway, the Halawa interchange and Waiau interchange.

But The Outdoor Circle is worried about the fate of hundreds of other trees along the 20-mile rail route. The organization's CEO accuses the city of keeping it out of the loop.

"I think that they are not forthcoming and I think that they don't have a plan," Mary Steiner said.

Steiner said she has to cut through red tape to get any information from the city about its tree plan.

"If they shared with us what was really going on we'd be happy to work with them and help identify locations and places for trees," she said.

"I'm a little puzzled by that statement," city transportation director Wayne Yoshioka said.

He testified before the City Council Wednesday on a resolution demanding the city work with The Outdoor Circle.

He insists he has complied with a mandate in the rail project's Environmental Impact Statement.

"There is a plan that was part of the EIS," he said. "There's also a disposition plan as to what happens to the trees after they get pulled out."

The transit project will affect 50 different species of trees. Two-thirds will be transplanted to unspecified "appropriate areas."

"I want the city to tell us where these trees are going and to show us how they're going to be protected and taken care of in the future," Steiner said.

"This gradual step-wise technique that we're using assures that there's an orderly transition for the trees to get replanted and stored properly," Yoshioka said.

The council passed the resolution that requests the city provide updates every six months on the rail construction's impact on trees with a list of damaged trees that must be replaced.  It also asks the city to include the Outdoor Circle in planning.

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