LIHUE — The dairy proposed in Mahaulepu Valley was at the forefront of people’s minds at Gov. David Ige’s third Community Connection forum at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center Tuesday night.
Poipu residents showed up in mass and organized with cardboard signs in protest of the dairy by Hawaii Dairy Farms, which would eventually put about 1,800 cows on the Southside of the island.
Michael Coon, a marine biologist from Poipu, was one of those sign-holders. He said the dairy was the most important issue of the evening.
He cited risks in the Poipu water supply and potential danger to the surrounding ocean’s coral.
“It’s a bad idea for the island,” Coon said. “A dairy isn’t a bad idea, but that size and where it’s at is a bad idea.”
George and Pam Valentini, who spend half of the year in Poipu said their main focus on Tuesday night was also the proposed dairy.
“It’s an industrial dairy that’s an environmental risk,” George Valentini said.
In addition to the dairy, topics of the evening included the governor’s initiative to “take the state paperless.”
Ige said his administration is leading the state legislature to a paperless information sharing system.
“I truly believe in leading by example so the governor’s office lead a paperless initiative,” Ige said.
He also touched on environmental and agricultural accomplishments of his administration.
“We completed the Haena State Park master plan after several years of working with the community we do believe this will allow a good blueprint on how we move forward with the Haena State Park,” Ige said.
Dawn Ige highlighted her work in education as Hawaii’s first lady. She said she’s been focused on empowering school administrators and teachers and looking at good examples of how to empower school officials.
“Reading is (another) area that I’m working on,” Dawn Ige said. “I visited many schools and I hope to come to Kauai to read in schools here.”
Gov. Ige said his administration is holding these community connection meetings at community colleges all over Hawaii because the future is driven by these institutions. About 100 people attended the meeting at KCC.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be back on Kauai,” Ige said. “It’s great to be here.”
The meeting continued after TGI’s deadline Tuesday.