Maunalua Bay Updates

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IMUA MAUNALUA

OPINION LETTER


November 24h , 2015

In The Beginning of March, 2015

Malama Maunalua approached the Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) regarding the creation of a community based planning team which would reflect the community’s vision for the future of Maunalua Bay. The Chamber did not know how the proposed project would be structured; however, The Chamber as a community organization is mandated to participate in community projects, with a special emphasis on projects that could have a negative or disparate impact on businesses or the community at large, and as such expressed in interest in the project.

Subsequently The Chamber learned of NOAA’s proposed Special Sanctuary Management Area (SSMA) for Maunalua Bay, and in late June, members began expressing concerns regarding the SSMA and Malama Maunalua’s support of the SSMA. Continued concerns were voiced in July along with a request that the Chamber become more involved and try to facilitate a way for concerned individuals to have direct access to NOAA’s Support Advisory Council (SAC). In response to these valid concerns The Chamber planned a coffee talk where critical business and community interests were invited to speak directly with Doug Cole of the SAC. Said coffee talk was held on Friday August 21 st . At the coffee talk community concerns were aired, and Doug Cole said he relayed those concerns expressed at the meeting at the next SAC meeting.

Mid-August

Malama Maunalua invited The Chamber to sit on what would become Imua Maunalua’s Project Advisory Council (PAC); Imua Maunalua being their community based planning project. As a member of the PAC, The Chamber strongly recommended the PAC be expanded to include more business centric members. The Chamber also successfully encouraged Imua Maunalua to extend the open nomination period, and the nomination period was extended two weeks. The Chamber strongly advised the Committee Planning Team (CPT) be a community selected team with final team selection made by either community and business leaders or by the nominees themselves.

During the initial nomination period ongoing community concerns regarding Imua Maunalua spurred The Chamber to begin coordinating with Pam Weiant of Imua Maunalua to call a meeting with critical business and community interests to discuss Imua Maunalua. Charlie Hunter also requested a similar meeting and offered to organize it. The Hawaii Kai Marina Association graciously offered to host the meeting at their office, and as not to duplicate efforts, The Chamber chose to attend the October 19 th meeting in lieu of holding its own. At the meeting Pam Weiant discussed current Imua Maunalua processes and listened to the concerns of the attendees. As a result of this meeting Imua Maunalua agreed to make the Community Planning Team an open process where the many nominees would choose amongst themselves who would be primary members of the team, alternate members and supporting committee members.

Soon after that October 19th meeting as The Chamber was working to understand the scope and scale of the SSMA, Malama Maunalua’s intentions regarding the SSMA and determining the full extent of its involvement with Imua Maunalua, Kathy Takahashi of H20 Sports requested an opportunity to speak with The Chamber’s Board of Directors to express her concerns as well as relay concerns of other interested parties in the community. She did this to ensure that The Chamber had all of the available data at its disposal and to express the overall concerns with Imua Maunalua, Malama Maunalua and NOAA’s SSMA. Kathy Takahashi provided materials at The Chamber’s November 4 th Board of Directors meeting that included press releases, factual data on the proposed SSMA scope and vision and most importantly, their own peer reviewed scientific data. This data is counter to the scientific data provided in NOAA’s SSMA. Also included was a factual accounting of the SSMA’s Q&A Facts disputing most of the stated facts as false and or as partially factual based on semantics. In short NOAA’s SSMA was seeking denial of usage of Maunalua Bay, unilaterally placing restrictions on any use of the bay by any and all private and commercial enterprises alike. Kathy Takahashi did not provide any data, or written materials specific to the Imua Maunalua Project. She did express that Imua Maunalua is a NOAA funded and directed project. However, The Chamber, through its own research, has found that Imua Maunalua is not funded nor directed by NOAA. It is perhaps due to the fact that NOAA is an exofficio member of the Imua Maunalua PAC that caused an incorrect assumption that Imua Maunalua is part of NOAA.

November 9th

the Imua Maunalua opened the PAC to allow two more business centric members on the advisory council, again heeding The Chamber’s counsel. Throughout this entire evolution The Chamber has attempted to openly communicate with all interested parties the concerns and factual data in its possession. The Chamber also heavily reviewed all documentation provided to it by both Malama Maunalua and the Friends of Maunalua Bay (FMB). Malama Maunalua and Imua Maunalua were forthright in their cooperation by providing requested documentation, even going as far as providing The Chamber with significant, highly confidential financial documentation. Regardless of Malama Maunalua’s support of NOAA’s proposed changes to the bay through the SSMA, The Chamber has confirmed that Imua Maunalua is not directed nor attached to NOAA in any form nor has Imua Maunalua been funded by NOAA.

In Conclusion

The Chamber, through its mandate became involved with Imua Maunalua in order to protect business and community interests. Imua Maunalua is attempting to be a bridge which brings community involvement into a spatial marine planning process ensuring that all voices, opinions and interests are represented and all the facts be made available for public consumption. The Chamber will continue to monitor Imua Maunalua via its involvement with the Project Advisory Council. This will ensure that The Chamber has a finger on the pulse of this very divisive subject. Furthermore The Chamber is gravely concerned about the SSMA and its potential negative / disparate impact on the community and entire Island of Oahu. By continuing its involvement with Imua Maunalua on the Project Advisory Council, The Chamber will have first hand knowledge regarding the Project Advisory Council and Community Planning Team and their potential influence and impact on Maunalua Bay and the entire Maunalua area. If, at any time, it is found that Imua Maunalua has misrepresented their mission or purpose, The Chamber will withdraw with prejudice. It is the opinion of The Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce that only by its involvement with Imua Maunalua will it ensure that Imua Maunalua is truly a community based project.

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Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce

PO BOX 26469, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825
Message Line: 808-395-8840
General Email: hawaiikaicc@gmail.com

 

 


RESOURCES AND LINKS

http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/09/imua-maunalua-group-launches-new-planning-process-to-help-troubled-bay/

Malama Maunalua has several big groups involved in Imua Maunalua, including the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Castle Foundation, plus support from DLNR and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. The plan the group wants to develop is separate from the management plan that NOAA is working on. to Read more please visit http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/09/imua-maunalua-group-launches-new-planning-process-to-help-troubled-bay/

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www.imuamaunalua.org

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