Protestors Rally for evicted Haleiwa Farmers Market - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Protestors Rally for evicted Haleiwa Farmers Market

HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Instead of selling their goods, vendors from the Haleiwa farmers market spent Sunday morning holding protest signs. The State's negotiations and extensions are over and the future of the market is up in the air. Now the City Council may be stepping in.

A typical Sunday in Haleiwa can consist of surf, shave ice, and the Haleiwa Farmers Market. But not on this day (at least for the market) and maybe, never again.

That's because the State says it's done negotiating and crews posted 'No Trespassing' signs on Friday. It's a move that the market's owners say blind-sided them.

"The governor lied to us, he said in one breath that he would not kick the farmers out until a proper venue was found for this market and in the next breath, he took us off the map," said Anne suite, a co-owner of the market.

Suite says the decision to evict them makes no sense since the market's 60-plus vendors bring in about $35,000 in profits during the four-hour period on Sundays. According to Suite, that money goes right back into the community and creates jobs. Something that Ikaika Parks is now without.

"I need this, this is one of the things that has basically been keeping us living today, without this I wouldn't be doing anything, I'd be stuck," said Parks, who was homeless before finding a job at the market.

Still, the Governor says the State has done all it could to negotiate; from offering two extensions to proposing alternative locations. None of those options have worked so far.    

"This was a business proposal for a couple of people out there and we were just not able to come to a conclusion," said Governor Neil Abercrombie in a June 15 news conference. "When people simply don't want to say yes, it's very difficult to come to an accommodation, it takes two to negotiate."

The market is now in limbo and its owners say they don't know what they'll be doing next Sunday. They're hoping to be able to move into Waimea Valley, but restrictions wouldn't make that possible for another nine months. The market's owners say Waimea Valley is a feasible site but it would be a very costly option because they would need to build ‘foot' bridge. They estimate the bridge to cost around $150,000.

The question now is, if vendors will be still around by the time the market finds a new home.

However, hope is not gone for the Haleiwa Farmers Market. City Council chair Ernie Martin tells HawaiiNewsNow that the council will be meeting internally this week to try to help the market find an alternate site.

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