Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 |
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Last Wednesday’s Garden Island carried a story about a plan by VoiceStream Wireless to install a 120 foot tower and antenna in Waimea, near the old Waimea mill. It appears from the story that the only person opposed to the idea is 80 year old Mr. Masao Takeuchi. I would be surprised if that were true, for a 120-foot tower in Waimea town does not seem to be a desirable thing to me either.
The safety issues resulting from the proximity of the tower to the community can be debated at length and a case can be made for or against the tower on that issue. I think, however, that most of us would agree on objections to the tower on aesthetic grounds. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I believe few people would find a 120-foot tall cellular phone tower beautiful. Mr. Roy Irei, of VoiceStream Wireless, answers that objection by saying they have a plan to conceal the tower inside a replica of a smokestack they plan to build that will complement the planned shell of the old mill that Kikiaola plans to build.
So we’ll have a 120-foot smokestack in Waimea town instead of a 120-foot tower? And that’s OK with everyone?
I guess everybody has their own sense of beauty and I must admit I have never considered smokestacks to be works of art. I suppose if most people think smokestacks are aesthetically pleasing, and that they add to the quality of the environment, then we may have stumbled onto the solution for one of our other aesthetic problems. Why don’t we put a smokestack on Haupu Ridge too? Then nobody would object to that tower anymore! I guess what I’m saying here is that we need to carefully consider what we do on our island. There probably is a suitable location for VoiceStream’s tower, but I don’t think Waimea town is the right place. At the same time we should also look at this idea to re-create the old mill in Waimea. Why would we want to do this? There is already a mill in Kekaha that could be preserved and turned in to a fine museum if someone wants to preserve Kaua’i’s sugar heritage. They even have their own smokestack! I’ve always thought mills and smokestacks were utilitarian devices and not much thought was ever given to their “eye appeal”. Do we really need to re-create these mills? With mills in Lihu’e, Olokele, and Kekaha, we have enough sugar mills and smokestacks for all to see. If we want to re-create something in Waimea that reflects the island’s past history, perhaps we should build something that commemorates Kaua’i before the mills were ever built.
Perhaps a reconstruction of an ancient Hawaiian village, complete with working exhibits of boat building and Hawaiian crafts would be of interest to residents and tourists alike. I think it would make Waimea far more attractive than a re-creation of and old mill and a smokestack.
I encourage anyone who would like to voice his opinion on this matter to attend the Planning Commission meeting at the Lihue Civic Center at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 12.
Richard McSheehy, Kalaheo
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