With 55K acres up for sale, Molokai residents unite to send a message

Updated: Oct. 28, 2017 at 5:39 PM HST
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(Image: Matt Yamashita, Quazifilms)
(Image: Matt Yamashita, Quazifilms)
(Image: Matt Yamashita, Quazifilms)
(Image: Matt Yamashita, Quazifilms)

MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - One-third of the island of Molokai is up for sale and residents want to send a message to its prospective buyer.

On Saturday, about 200 community members marched from Mahana to Maunaloa wearing green shirts that read "We Are Molokai Pule O'o" and "Keep Molokai Molokai."

"This walk is meaningful for us and I think this is the start of a new beginning," said Molokai resident Jimmy Duvauchelle.

"We felt that in order for the right buyers to be here, we needed a voice," said another resident Walter Ritte.

Molokai Ranch sits on 55,575 acres.

It's Singapore-based owner shut down operations nine years ago after the community mounted strong opposition to a plan that would have sold hundreds of beachfront lots at Laau Point.

The $260 million sale includes 20 miles of coastline with two hotel properties two golf courses, residential, agricultural and conservation land.

The listing agent, Carvill Sotheby's International Realty, says it's looking for someone to manage the property and not develop it, but Molokai residents aren't taking any chances.

"We want to work together with them in collaboration and in partnership and show that we come with aloha," said Kanoelani Davis.

A community-based master land use plan for the ranch was compiled by Molokai residents in 2005.

They hope whoever purchases the land will align with their vision of best management use, protection and balanced development.

"Please be pono," said Keani Rawlins-Fernandez. "Come in and embrace our vision, our values and our community and work together with us to do what's right for this place and for Molokai's people."

The march ended at Maunaloa Elementary School with food and live entertainment.

Similar events are being planned for the future.

A petition is also circulating that will be sent to Prospective Buyers of Molokai Ranch Lands.

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