Letters for Friday, September 23, 2011

• Bye bye nene bird •  Plastic bag ban?

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Bye bye nene bird              

Having read The Garden Island’s article concerning the removal of the nene “being kicked off Kaua‘i,” I was pleased to find that the problem originated from the “area surrounding the Kaua‘i airport by a previous owner of the Kaua‘i Lagoons Resort which is located right next to the airport. The birds have since settled in, making themselves at home throughout the property’s wetlands and enticing 18-hole golf course.”

To this writer, it sounds as though this is not a Kaua‘i taxpayer’s problem; it is the sole problem of the Kaua‘i Lagoons Resort!

Consider the following: Marriott bought Kaua‘i Lagoons in the late 1990s from that previous owner and as a result of that transaction took on the responsibility of the positive and negative issues that were woven within the fabric of that sale.

In 2002, 2006 and 2010 Kaua‘i Lagoons was granted $2 billion to $4 billion in zoning upgrades by the county, resulting in a probable increase of 2,272 Transient Accommodation Units. This massive zoning upgrade was in exchange for the county obtaining 138 acres of useless oceanfront property directly adjacent to the Lihu‘e Airport runway. The 138 acres have no vehicular/pedestrian access across the airport property, according to the Airport Operations Officer in Honolulu, and is now the property of the county, which means taxpayers pay for its maintenance.

During the entire negotiation period, from 2001 to 2010, bills were written and signed warning: “To minimize adverse impacts to Newell’s shearwaters, exterior lighting fixtures shall be only of the following types; shielded lights, cut-off luminaries or indirect lighting.” (Ordinance PM-2002-363, item 12).

This same ordinance, item 13, warned: “The applicant (Kaua‘i Lagoons), its successors or assigns, shall develop the appropriate documents and/or agreements for the review of and approval by the County of Kaua‘i that would hold the County of Kaua‘i harmless from any lawsuits relating to noise.”

This same ordinance, item 14, warned: “An aviation easement in a form prescribed by the State Department of Transportation shall be granted to the State of Hawaii (owner of the Lihu‘e Airport) by the Applicant, to cover the entirety of the Kaua‘i Lagoons Resort property owned by the Applicant.”

 As a result of all these warnings and requirements to protect birds, to hold agencies harmless and the granting of aviation easements along with others concerning; zoning; what can be built and how high; a well as types of uses this property is restricted to; how can anybody imagine that Kaua‘i Lagoons was not aware of the full magnitude of its responsibilities.

 As a matter of fact, this writer checked further into what uses were allowed for this 138 acres of wasteland. One of the outstanding determinants for permissible uses of this property was the restriction that nothing could be built on that property that “would encourage the gathering or the increasing of the bird population to that area.” In other words, it would be very unlikely that an open landfill would be allowed on that property.

This writer suggest that readers check out the series of county bills that were drafted, signed and approved, and made into ordinances during that 9-year-period from 2001 to 2010. Ordinance numbers are: PM-2002-363 series; PM-2006-383 series; and PM-2009-394. Each Ordinance was signed by three different mayors.

Kaua‘i Lagoons purchased the property as well as the positive and negatives that the purchase included. Solution: Have Kaua‘i Lagoons establish a sanctuary for the birds and move them there; or maybe on the private wetlands between Wailua and Kapa‘a, next to the bypass road. Wherever they go, no matter how the problem is solved, it is not the taxpayer’s responsibility!

Let Kaua‘i Lagoons spend some of its billion-dollar added values to pay for it.

John Hoff, Lawa‘i

Plastic bag ban?

Yeah, auto trash pick up is here on Kaua‘i! When we lived on O‘ahu, we had a great trash, green waste and recycling pick up program. Nice, large trash cans too.

I read that here they require/want you to have your trash in trash bags that are usually plastic. Are we going backwards with the effort of “bag ban” in our landfill?

As a community can we try to put food, glass, saw dust and such debris in brown bags to help reduce the plastic bag pollution? Just an idea that helps the ‘aina.

Again, I appreciate the program very much but thought it was odd to have the trash in large plastic bags. The cost of plastic bags used each week can really add up for families. The auto arm is very consistent with dumping into the truck refuse area. Rinsing the can is quick and simple. If you do not have it in bags, will they not dump it?

I appreciate any answers, updates or opinions.

Donna Pickard, Wailua

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