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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs April 12, 2024

THE THIRD HAWAI‘I SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT WILL BE HELD on Thursday, Friday and Saturday May 2 - 4 at the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa. A statement from Hawai‘i County says the event is about "Community leaders called to convene in a series of events celebrating a collective commitment to building a sustainable Hawai‘i." It is organized in collaboration with Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local 2030 Hub, Aloha+ Challenge, and Friends of the Future and "aims to unite like-minded organizations, individuals, and the youth of Hawaiʻi in a shared mission to achieve our  six priority Hawaiʻi sustainability goals. "These goals are Natural Resource Management, Smart Sustainable Communities, Solid Waste Reduction, Clean Energy Transformation, Local Food and Green Workforce & Education.
     Ideas for Smart, Sustainable Communities ithat came out of last year's summit include:
     Rezone to allow multi-generational housing and residential and commercial zones nearby each other;
    Create an employer working group to analyze housing needs over lifetime;
    Meaningfully engage communities throughout the State and County Request for Proposals, procurement process;
    Revise affordable housing policies;
    Set up neighborhood board systems to make sustainable communities community-driven;
    Survey major organizations to gauge investment/projects in the next 5 years to find synergies in sustainability;
    Develop an affordable living plan (as opposed to looking only at affordable housing) and socialize it with all key stakeholders;
    Allow communities to themselves define sustainable development, align regulatory processes;
    Take advantage of HRS 46-15 to pilot an affordable housing project in a location where people work;
    Fast-track permitting to achieve smart sustainable communities.

    Mayor Mitch Roth said, "We're thrilled to reconvene for the Hawaiʻi Sustainability Summit, where leaders and community members collaborate to shape a sustainable future for our island home. This year's discussions will focus on transforming insights into actionable strategies that preserve our natural and
cultural resources while enhancing our residents' overall quality of life. Together, we're committed to securing a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island where our keiki can raise their keiki for generations to come."
    As part of the initiative, Hawai‘i County will present the following events for keiki to kupuna to engage throughout the summit:
    Working Groups: Building the Foundation for Sustainable Growth. In the lead-up to the Summit,
through April, a series of pre-summit events will provide a dynamic platform for thoughtful engagement and collaboration among participants. These sessions are designed to foster dialogue and develop strategies that align with the sustainability goals that are crucial for the well-being and future of Hawaiʻi Island.
    Youth Congress: Empowering Our Keiki. A centerpiece of this year's Summit is the inaugural Youth Congress, an innovative gathering that will bring students from across Hawaiʻi together "to voice their perspectives and contribute to the collective vision for our island home." It will be held on Thursday, May 2 at Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa , 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    The Summit: Culminating in Collective Action. "The Summit itself will serve as the culmination of these engagements, synthesizing the insights from both the Youth Congress and various working groups. In a tradition of honoring past Summits, the event will create an environment ripe for discussion, debate, and most importantly, the formation of a collective agreement on the sustainable path forward for Hawaiʻi Island." It will be held on Friday, May 3 at Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa,| 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Community Celebration: Showcasing Our Achievements. To cap off the Summit, a celebration presented by Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa will provide an opportunity for participants and the wider community to connect, spotlight achievements, unveil future plans, and celebrate the spirit of collective effort toward sustaining Hawaiʻi.
    The County statement says, "Hawaiʻi Sustainability Summit 2024 is a movement towards a sustainable and prosperous future for Hawaiʻi Island. The program of events is open to all who share in the vision of sustainability, community, and collective action." For more information on how to participate in the Summit or attend the pre-summit events and Celebration, visit the website or contact directly. It will be held May 3 at Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa, 5:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.

    Events are free to the public. For more information see https://hisustainabilitysummit.com/

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.

MAYORAL CANDIDATE SEAULA JR. TUPAI AND COUNTY COUNCIL CANDIDATE Ikaika Kailiawa-Smith came to Pāhala Thursday evening on the campaign trail. They made campaign promises like repairing the Pāhala Fire Station, county and state roads, and creating incentives to grow food. Other promises included new lights and other infrastructure for the ballfields and parks in Pāhala, Nāʻālehu and Ocean View. They promised to solve the school bus problem where there is a shortage of drivers and buses.

    They talked about the challenge of affordable housing.  One approach was making it easier for local people to build their own affordable housing for their families on land they already own. Another strategy was preventing speculation by somehow disallowing "foreigners" to buy homes here. Another was to keep property taxes low from generation to generation so that those inheriting homes here would not be driven away by neighbor's houses being sold at high prices leading to their own property taxes soaring.

Seaula Jr. Tupa‘i, right and Ikaika Kailiawa-Smith,
center, on the campaign trail in Pāhala Thursday.
Photo by Julia Neal

    Tupa‘i said that billionaires such as the Benioffs and Zuckerbergs are "buying up land all over Hawai‘i." He said that he would sign any legislation that would advocate for locals being able to afford or buy homes. He said he would also sign legislation limiting vacation rentals that take away local housing.

     Tupai talked about "food independence, noting that if the ships didn't come in with food for Hawai‘i, stores would last two to three days. Regenerative farming is the way, said Tupai, suggesting community gardens and county incentives to grow food.

     Regarding the proposed development at Punalu‘u, Kailiawa-Smith and Tupa‘i said they oppose it and mentioned the broken-down sewage treatment plant and the water system. Candice Ka‘awa, property manager at Punalu‘u, said the water and sewage systems there continually pass Department of Health and other tests and have not experienced sewage spills or water shortages. She said, given the situation of the property owners having little income from the 100 users to fund the system built for 2,000 units, the owners are doing their best to keep it working. She urged the candidates to check the facts before

Hālau o Maunalei will perform at the hula platform
in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday at 10 a.m.
overstating the situation. Tupai said he wanted to learn more about the sewer and water systems from Ka‘awa and thanked her for speaking up.
    Both Tupai and Kailiaiwa-Smith talked about having more control over public school administration locally. They talked about cutting bureaucracy, overspending in government and the value of having tradesmen and other hands on people in government leadership positions.
    See more at www.votetupai.com.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.

HULA ARTS WILL BE DEMONSTRATED at the kahua hula platform in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park this Saturday, April 13. Sponsored by Volcano Art Center, it features Kumu Lehua Brayand Hālau o Maunalei. It begins at 10:30 a.m. Free but park entrance fees apply.

TROJANS VARSITY BASEBALL plays Kamehameha. Saturday, April 13 from 1 p.m. at Pāhala Baseball Field.