Different groups join to protest Turtle Bay expansion plans - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Different groups join to protest Turtle Bay expansion plans

Protestors make their messages known near Turtle Bay Resort Protestors make their messages known near Turtle Bay Resort
Elena Meehan Elena Meehan
Kent Fonoimoana Kent Fonoimoana
Rev. Bob Nakata Rev. Bob Nakata

KAHUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was anything but a quiet afternoon on Oahu's North Shore, as three groups got together in an effort to "keep the country, country."

At least that was one of the messages of the rally at the entrance to the Turtle Bay Resort.

It actually was part rally and part Halloween party, with many of the more than 200 protesters in costume. They included members of the hotel workers union UNITE HERE, the Defend Oahu Coalition, and the new Occupy Honolulu movement. They chanted and banged pots and pans as noisemakers.

A longtime hotel worker says Turtle Bay's expansion plans scare her.

"It's kind of scary because they say you can put Waikiki from one corner of the bay to the other end of the other bay," said Elena Meehan, who has worked at the resort for 39 years. "You picture that as Waikiki, I don't even -- it's kind of scary."

The past summer, the resort released an outline of its revised expansion plan as it began preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement. It also released those plans on a Web site, showing that they have been scaled back considerably from the original proposals.

Protesters said that wasn't good enough.

"We support the hotel and want them to do well," said Kent Fonoimoana of the Defend Oahu Coalition. "However, we do think that their plans so far that they've run by us are still too much, and unacceptable."

"Those of us in Kahaluu were linking with people in Waialua (and) Haleiwa to keep this whole coastline clear," said the Rev. Bob Nakata with Occupy Honolulu, who also is a former state senator who fought against development. "This is the one we haven't won yet," he said.

Meantime, Occupy Honolulu members also raised their voices against corporate greed.

"Occupy Honolulu has their own interests with that," said Fonoimoana. "We're kinda playing off the occupy movement. However, we've been at this for five and-a-half years."

Ultimately, the protesters just want things to remain the way they are on the North Shore.

"I'm just scared of what's going to happen," Meehan said. "I don't want it looking like Waikiki or Kaanapali."

Previous story: Turtle Bay downsizes hotel development plan


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