State gives Haleiwa Farmers Market options, extension

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state says it has given the Haleiwa Farmers' Market a two week extension to relocate.

Attorney General David Louie and Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto met Thursday with an attorney for the Haleiwa Farmers' Market.

Louie and Okimoto told the attorney about a 'final' two week extension to relocate.

"There was never a question if the Market will continue.  We have always fully supported local farmers. Our effort in finding another location is to ensure a venue where farmers and vendors can market their goods without liability. The Market's present location is forbidden by law and the State is subject to liability, said Governor Neil Abercrombie.

The state says the location of the Market and the number of people it attracts creates a hazard and a risk to drivers on the bypass road as well as pedestrians crossing the road to reach the Market.  

"The first thing we have to do is ensure people's safety.  We will not wait for an accident to happen before taking action to protect the public.  We must respect the law," said Attorney General Louie.  

 The state says that several locations have been suggested for the Market by the state and various community members.  These options have included the Waialua Sugar Mill, city parks, and local schools.  These suggestions were never accepted.

Several new alternative locations were suggested at today's meeting.  Among these options was the Liliuokalani Protestant Church, located in the heart of Haleiwa at the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Emerson Road.  It is approximately the same size as the current location, and already hosts similar events for handcrafters and artisans.  

        Mr. John Hirota, Treasurer and past Moderator for the church, stated: "Liliuokalani Protestant Church supports local farmers and the local community.  We look forward to discussing the possibility with the farmers and vendors of serving as the new home for the Haleiwa Farmers' Market."
        In addition to the church, the State has advised the Market that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ("OHA") has offered two other properties in the area as possible new locations.  OHA has offered the historic Waialua Court House, recently renovated, which is in the heart of Haleiwa and is open for community events.  OHA has also offered Waimea Valley, which has a large parking lot, which could easily accommodate the Market and more.  OHA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kamana'opono Crabbe stated:  "OHA would welcome site visits and discussions to explore the possibility of hosting the Market to support our farmers and the broader economic community of Haleiwa Town."

The Abercrombie Administration says it's confident a new location is available and the vendors will be able to relocate quickly and conveniently.

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