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Pushback on residential development proposal in Kakaʻako mirrors 2005 fight

Daniel Ramirez/Wikimedia Commons
Kakaʻako Waterfront Park

Hakuone. Kakaʻako Makai. Kewalos. Whatever you know it by, the last open public shoreline in Honolulu is in a tug of war, mirroring a fight of close to a decade and a half ago. The group Save Our Kakaʻako was born out of that battle over pushback to sell public trust lands to the highest bidder.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs renamed its 30-acre area of industrial land there to Hakuone, meaning "sands of creation." Lawmakers are now considering a bill that would allow OHA to build housing units in Kakaʻako, makai of Ala Moana Boulevard. But a 17-year-old ban on residential development in the area is still in place.

The Conversation spoke with two of the early organizers of a grassroots effort around 2005 that led to a ban on residential development in the area — Wayne Takamine, head of the Kaka’ako Advisory Council, and Ron Iwami, who leads Friends of Kewalos.

One of their concerns is disturbing parts of the landfill, including an area known as the piano lot — an old EPA brownfield site that was paved over to reduce public exposure to hazardous material in the soil.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Feb. 10, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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