Ewa Beach development plan sparks controversy

Published: Jun. 3, 2015 at 1:56 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 3, 2015 at 4:05 AM HST
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EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of Ewa Beach residents voiced their opposition to proposed changes along the coastline between Oneula Beach Park and White Plains Beach. Haseko Development, Inc. needs city approval for shoreline improvements fronting the recreational lagoon at the site of its Hoakalei Resort. Haseko officials said the plan would boost public access with an additional pathway, pavilions and other amenities. Many people who attended a public hearing on Tuesday, however, criticized the company's development.

"How will it affect the shoreline? How will it affect the sea turtles that come there and the fishing that already goes on there? This is a family community, not a tourist community," said Ewa Beach resident Shannon Martinez.

"The focus is to make sure it's welcoming for everybody. The intention is not just to have visitors come here. We're only allowed to have 950 visitor accommodation units so this is never going to be like Waikiki. It's never going to be like Ko Olina," said Haseko Development vice president Sharene Tam.

More than 100 people showed up for a hearing by the Department of Planning and Permitting. Only a few voiced their support for Haseko.

"In my opinion, Haseko Development has proven to be unselfish stewards of the land. They continue to support Hoakalei Cultural Foundation's mission and vision to educate, share and preserve our culture," said Hoakalei Cultural Foundation resource manager Kim Kalama.

"Whatever Haseko is doing in the lagoon, it's going to affect Oneula Beach Park. I'm telling you guys right now, they've been doing a lot of things without us knowing," said opponent Gilbert Dano.

The developer said the changes won't affect surfers or fishermen. The company is in the process of transferring nine acres of oceanfront land to the city to expand Oneula Beach Park.

The public feedback will be used in a report to the City Council.

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