• Balancing act or double standard? • No really, the bike path isn’t the solution
Balancing act or double standard?
I recently moved to Kauai from Central Otago, on the South Island of New Zealand, where I was employed by the dairy industry. I was contracted as a laborer to build large rotating milk sheds. I saw firsthand the serious environmental consequences of large scale dairy milk farming, dense grazing on relatively small acreage. With dairy farming, you need a lot of water everyday to flush out and clean the systems, gear, etc. — which in turn creates large amounts of polluted wastewater which seeps back into the soil as runoff. After heavy rains, the problems were even more evident. The large amount of cow manure produced is a very large problem, because of the high levels of nitrates.
Having come from the dairy industry, I have been following The Garden Island articles about the proposed dairy for Mahaulepu. Based on my experience in New Zealand, having seen many signs posted by the government warning people not fish or swim in certain waters due to pollution directly resulting from dairies, I am very concerned about the effects a dairy would have on Kauai (an island much smaller than New Zealand). Imagine what will happen to tourism in this area if swimmers are told they will get sick, if they enter the water, as they are in New Zealand.
I was really surprised when I read the article “Balancing Act,” by Garden Island journalist Darin Moriki, and saw the comments of Mike Tassler. Mr. Moriki was reviewing the pros and cons of a proposed residential development on the last vacant land at Makauena:
Mike Tassler, who moved to Kauai six years ago and lives in the Poipu Kai subdivision, says he is concerned about flooding in the area on the bowl-shaped property and would rather see it undeveloped.
“What I’ve heard from guys who have lived here all their lives is that, when it rains really hard here, this is just a valley,” Tassler said on Friday as he walked along the Makahuena Point shoreline. “They’re going to have to fill this whole valley in because it’s just a river running down through here.”
Isn’t this area that Mr. Moriki addresses just a few miles from the proposed dairy site, and a similar topography? Can you imagine what will happen to the ocean and sea life when a river of polluted sludge runs directly to the ocean (if the farm at Maha’ulepu is approved)? Hopefully, local and state government officials won’t let Kauai be damaged, as New Zealand has been (and continues to be).
No really, the bike path isn’t the solution
I completely agree with Glenn Mickens’ forum letter on Sept. 9, “Biking to work an unrealistic expectation for traffic woes.”
Having been an inspector for the Department of Transportation 35 years ago and a person who helped build the bike route that parallels our highway, I, and 95 percent of the people who use their vehicles for transportation, agree that the cost per usage of this path was a complete failure.
And, even worse, we are now in the process of building another bike path (now called a multi-use path) that was said to be for transportation and not recreation to conform to Transportation Enhancement rules to get 80 percent federal funding.
But these regulations were ignored and now we are spending an obscene $5.2 million per mile (some places $10 million per mile) to build a project (still 20 percent with local money and 80 percent with our federal dollars) that was a failure 35 years ago.
The latest effort by Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura to put more buses on our roads is, as Mr. Mickens said, nothing but her “favorite feel good, sound bit solution” to solve our traffic woes.
And she wants to put more buses on the roads by increasing our taxes 0.5 percent … absolutely insane when the people are already being overtaxed and having added fees charged to everything they touch! In fact, her latest “dream” was voted down by wiser minds on the council by a 5 to 1 vote.
Plus, no matter how many buses are added to our roads, the mass of the people will not abandon their vehicles for a bus or bike. Whether you are going shopping, to the doctor, or to see a friend, you are going to use your vehicle for its convenience of going from Point A to Point B and back to A.
For those needing a bus, the buses are available. The fact that some routes are overcrowded and others are going with few passengers is a problem with the scheduling and could be solved with proper supervision. Or, as has been said, why are we not looking into a taxi contract service that would be far cheaper than much of the bus operation? A taxi would be far more cost efficient than a big diesel bus that is picking up one person.
We desperately need more alternate roads on Kauai to alleviate traffic, NOT more bikes, buses and multi-use paths.