Saturday, May 28, 2022 |
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WAIMEA — Westside residents have just began a journey that may ultimately lead to a path.
Suggested routes for a multi-use trail system for the Waimea and Kekaha area were unveiled to the public during two public meetings this week.
Leland Ibara, Westside Path Chair of a 16-member Citizens Advisory Committee, led the public meeting, Monday night at the historic Waimea Theater, pulling the more than three dozen area residents and other interested individuals into breakout sessions to discuss the proposed routes.
“It’s great to get the community organized,” said CAC member Becky Johnston of Kalaheo. “The CAC had four meetings prior to these public meetings and following those meetings, the recommendations for the different trails were laid out on a large aerial map of the Waimea and Kekaha areas.”
The purpose of the public meetings is to invite public input into the CAC’s recommendations as well as add their own input.
“For those who could not make the meetings in Waimea or Kekaha, results of the meetings as well as the questionnaire will be posted on the Kaua‘i Path website (www.kauaipath.org) from Oct. 7,” Johnston said. “We would like to invite the people to visit the website and fill out the questionnaire as well as offer their input by Oct. 20.”
Rodney Pascua, who along with Scott Fiorovich of Design Associates Kaua‘i, have been brought in with the CAC, said the public should respond to the invitation for input.
“The more input we receive allows us to do the right thing,” Pascua said.
Ibara said other members of the CAC include Bruce Pleas, Steven Penner, Jose Bulatao Jr., Travis Parker, Kaulana Finn, Dave Walker, Dee Morikawa, Patrick Perreira, Derreck Kaneshiro, Jon Kobayashi, Abraham Nihipali, Peter Herndon, Ricky Tsuchiya and Kathleen Hurd.
Ibara also announced Joy Osterhout of Health and Education Communication Consultants have been taken on in addition to Design Associates Kaua‘i, Dr. Randall Blake, the Kaua‘i Path director, and Tommy Noyes, director of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant.
Originally, the multi-use trail is proposed to start from the Russian Fort located outside of Waimea town and span the distance through McArthur Park outside Kekaha.
Once the public input has been collected, Dr. Blake will meet with consultants to compile the findings and determine the type of feasible path for the area.
When asked to identify two points within the trail system, the consensus was on the Russian Fort, but the second point fell on sites like the Menehune Ditch, the Waimea River levy system, and many agreeing on Waimea Canyon Middle School.
Hurd, representing one of the groups, expressed concerns about continued access for fishermen and the continued use of the beach for horseback riders.
Mike Faye, another group representative, suggested one of the presented alternatives be eliminated because it passes through active agricultural industry lands with its consequences of daily operations, a suggestion which had consensus among the groups.
Another group suggested the trail system be easily accessible to the different communities who would be able to utilize it for exercising and getting children to school.
“This is an important first step,” Noyes said. “The CPPW grant is meant to combat obesity and the multi-use trail system introduces more opportunities for people to exercise.”
Noyes said work has already started on a North Shore and a South Shore path system; and the Westside meeting was imporant to identify assets and listen to what the community wants.
Visit www.kauaipath.org for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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