HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As heavy equipment worked through the day at Sherwood forest at the entrance of Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, makeshift signs protested the city’s project to take down trees and build a multi-purpose athletic field.
Also protested at Honolulu Hale was the election of new council chair Ikaika Anderson of Windward Oahu.
"I believed we could be heard. Our voices could be heard and honestly. It's kinda sad," said Waimanalo resident Kukana Kama-Toth.
"We are trying to stop something that apparently has been in the works for a long time," said Waimanalo resident Kau Kalama.
Residents say they first saw the bulldozers about two weeks ago and then started scrambling to ‘Save Sherwoods.’ They started petitions and started organizing, but for now the grading won’t stop.
"I support phase 1 going forward because of the process that it went through," said council chair Ikaika Anderson of Windward Oahu who was just elected chair Wednesday.
Phase 1 includes a multi-purpose field, play apparatus and an 11-stall parking lot.
Despite supporting the project, Anderson asked Mayor Caldwell to stop the grubbing of the foliage because of concerns for a Hawaiian bat, but the mayor said that work needs to be finished by the end of the month as allowed by the environmental assessment.
"I don't believe he's (Anderson) been very transparent in the process," said Kalama.
"I respect folks right to object. I would want to discuss with the community going forward if folks want to see future phases," said Anderson.
"I'm in strong support of Ikaika Anderson being our chair. I'm against the destruction of the forest," said council member Tommy Waters.
Residents are looking at legal options and planning more protests.