O’ahu’s urban over-development within the last 10 years comes as no surprise to locals who want access to chain stores in the Mainland, but personally, I think it’s beginning to compete with Joan Rivers’ face-lifts. Change can be a positive thing but the crucial key is learning when its time to stop.
Aloha Hawaii- where have you gone??
The cold hard fact is tourists come to the Hawaiian Islands for “the Island Paradise Getaway”, not chain and high-end retail stores, mall expansions and eye-sore commercial theme parks. These commercial up-crops are conveniences that even locals can’t themselves afford. Meanwhile, it destroys our land’s own natural paradise and squeezes out the few things which personify our island’s true beauty, such as small mom-n-pop stores, landmark restaurants and local surf spots.
Kewalo Basin Park Cleanups and Surfers Making a Difference
Thankfully, on O’ahu, we still have a handful of grassroots organizations and people who seek to preserve our favorite local spots from being devoured by the massive urban overhaul currently swallowing the island. The Friends of Kewalo Basin Park Association is one such not-for-profit group formed by Kewalo Basin Park users in response to issues surrounding the Kaka’ako Waterfront Development project and its aim to develop the land primarily for commercial, condominuim and/or retail use.
The group- a conglomeration of “surfers, fishermen/women, divers, swimmers, walkers, joggers, etc…”- all volunteer their time and voice to help ensure the public will have continued access to the park and be able to enjoy its many uses for years to come.
Friends strives to promote the awareness that Kewalo Basin and Kaka’ako are public lands that should be used as ‘a park‘… aiding rest, exercise, family gatherings and ‘quality of life‘ vs. an urban playground. Much of their vision for the park and its improvements are down-to-earth and achievable.
This past Saturday morning, approximately 100 volunteers came out to Kewalo’s to help clean the park.
Surfboards, boogie boards, skateboards and fins, etc… were all laid down in the shade momentarily, while trash bags, rakes, brooms and dust bins emerged from surf trucks/vans and cars… someone even brought a weed-wacker! Friends recognizes that Kewalo Basin will still be developed in some way, like it or not; but many are hoping that continued active interest, voice, awareness and volunteer work may still hold some positive swing.
With exemplary organizations like Friends of Kewalo Basin Park Association, let’s all join hands to help clean, protect and preserve the “island paradise” we all know, live in and love.
How you can make a difference in Hawaii’s community
Please do your part in making a difference- it may be as simple as taking a small step to support local farms/produce and family-owned shops and restaurants. Perhaps you can participate in your local community meetings and lend your voice against urban over-development and commercial over-crowding or create your own grassroots group. Do your part to make Hawaii’s inevitable face-lift a positive change for our local culture and tourism to thrive in and not just another commercially-botched job that we’re all forced to live with!