Does Oahu Need Another Wal-mart?

Michele Golojuch
Michele Golojuch
Proposed site for a new Wal-mart in Kapolei
Proposed site for a new Wal-mart in Kapolei
Leeward residents voice their concerns Wednesday night
Leeward residents voice their concerns Wednesday night

by Paul Drewes

KAPOLEI, Oahu (KHNL) - A major Hawaii retailer is shopping for support in a west Oahu community. After announcing plans for a proposed Wal-mart store in Kapolei. Company representatives met with the community Wednesday night, to listen to their concerns.

There are already four Wal-marts on Oahu and eight in the islands. Is another one needed in Kapolei? Some we talked with Wednesday night said yes, but others say the brakes need to be put on development in this west Oahu community.

"I'm concerned about more traffic" says one worried resident.

"There is a problem with the traffic but its not Wal-mart's fault." adds another Kapolei resident.

Its not as if Kapolei doesn't already have big business, there's a Kmart. And just down the road, there's a Home Depot, but both of these are down the road from where the Wal-mart would go in, and that's important to many.

The location of the proposed Wal-mart store is at Ft. Barrette Road and Farrington Highway, right next to the H-1 freeway on and off ramps. Already a sticking spot for Kapolei drivers.

"As you get off the freeway or off the freeway - its comes a standstill - from 1:30 on, nobody wants to go downtown." says Danielle Swenson, a Makakilo Resident.

Traffic isn't the only concern raised at a neighborhood board meeting with the big box retailer, another issue brought up is whether West Oahu employees would be paid a living wage.

"How many jobs will be 40 hours a week? Because you can't live off minimum wage her in Hawaii. And unless you have full benefits, working at Wal-mart is almost a waste of your time." says Michele Golojuch, a Makakilo resident.

But Wal-mart says the hundred Oahu employees who already live in the area, could benefit from the store in their backyard, and so could the community.

"We need a supercenter, a bigger and cheaper place for the Kapolei community" says Kapolei resident Vern Chun.

Wal-mart says the proposed project would go in after planned roadwork is completed for Kapolei.