With all due respect to Mr. Takata for his “Viewpoint” article in the 6/14
Forum, “Kaua’i’s Economy Is a Three-legged Chair,” one wonders why neither he
nor other advocates concentrate on first preparing our infrastructure properly,
before pushing for more and more tourism.
Certainly no one can deny that
tourism is an integral part of keeping our economy healthy, but there has to be
a point of diminishing return if our roads, our highways, our beaches and
recreational areas are already overly used and deteriorated. Tourists will not
plan to return to this island paradise. (Once a wise business man who had a
franchise for McDonald’s here stated that he made sure that his restaurants
were in perfect condition before he opened his doors to the public and that the
service given made the customers want to return).
By spending millions of
dollars enticing more and more tourists to come to our island, we are burying
our heads in the sand and not facing the real problems to be solved — traffic
jams, gridlock, tons of waste, recreational areas under-maintained, hiking
trails so overused that their pristine beauty is being destroyed and restrooms
crying out for upkeep and repair. How long do you think it will take these
tourists to figure out that they can sit in a traffic jam in L.A., Chicago or
New York instead of coming to Kaua’i and spend their time sitting bumper to
bumper to travel from Puhi to Ha’ena?
The key word here is prioritize!
Where is our administration on this issue? Taking junkets to the 4 corners of
the world to promote more tourism and not addressing these problems here at
home. Shouldn’t we put a hold on promotion and do whatever it takes to repair
and build our infrastructure so that our island can truly accommodate the
tourists and others who are moving here?
I have great sympathy for all the
workers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and all others who must daily fight
their way around the island to go to and from their work. Thirty or forty years
ago one of our senators outlined a by-pass road that was needed then and is
still not on the drawing board. The state points the finger at the county and
vice-versa and thus we sit with gridlock growing worse each day. Any problem is
this island’s problem and it should not be tossed back and forth like a
Yes, Mr. Takata, “we must have the flexibility to build out to
a sustainable visitor capacity,” but that capacity has already reached its
finite state and unless we take emergency measures to fix our infrastructure,
those tourism numbers will quickly go south!