Stay on Maui Sand Mining Remains, Hearing Resumes Next Week

August 14, 2017, 9:38 AM HST · Updated August 14, 9:43 AM
Wendy Osher · 1 Comment
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A stay that temporary blocks Maui Lani Partners from conducting sand mining and excavation work at its development in Central Maui, remains in place as a hearing resumes next week.

Foreground images: Clare Apana (left) and Kaniloa Kamaunu (right), PC by Wendy Osher. Background image: courtesy Iwi Protectors

A 10-day stay on grading activities was implemented on Aug. 2, 2017 following the filing of a lawsuit by the group Malama Kakanilua seeking protection of burials and compliance with archaeological monitoring. Other parties represented in the suit are Maui residents Clare Apana and Kaniloa Kamaunu.

Several of those in attendance, backing the plaintiff’s position sat in the gallery with black t-shirts bearing the wording “Let the sand stay where the people lay.”

Attorney for the plaintiffs, Lance D Collins said that while an archaeology study and trenching did not disclose any burials, there were two inadvertent burials that were found following the commencement of construction.

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Attorney for the defense, Gregory Kugle argued that the land board had jurisdiction to remedy archaeological mitigation plans and that the legislature had created a process for resolving such issues.  He also spoke of the impact to public interest including the completion of the Maui Lani Parkway saying the project would suffer harm if completion was delayed.

On Friday, Maui Judge Joseph Cardoza denied a motion to lift the temporary restraining order and recessed the hearing until next week Wednesday, when an evidentiary hearing will resume on a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Two of nine witnesses expected to testify on behalf of the plaintiffs were sworn in on Friday.  One witness, Jennifer Noelani Ahia testified on Friday that heavy machinery was used on June 26th without an archaeological monitor present.  Attorneys entered cell phone video into evidence documenting the claim.

Oral arguments are set to resume at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.

Committee to Consider Moratorium on Export of Sand from Maui:

The Council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management committee meets this afternoon to discuss a proposed moratorium on the export of sand from Maui.

The Committee is in receipt of a communication from the Mayor relating to a moratorium on the export of sand, which references a Maui Inland Resource Quantification Study originally transmitted in February of 2006.  At the time, the study identified the potential life-span for mining of inland sand and export of sand to Oʻahu at a life span of 5-7 years.

The committee also received correspondence on Aug. 7, 2017 from the Department of the Corporation Counsel on a proposed bill for an ordinance, establishing a new chapter of the county code, declaring a moratorium on sand mining.  The purpose of the proposed bill is to prohibit sand mining activities for a period of up to two years to allow for an analysis on the availability of inland sand and the adoption of an ordinance regulating mining, excavation, extraction, or stockpiling of inland sand.

The Committee may consider whether to recommend passage the proposed bill on first reading, with or without revisions. The Committee may also consider the filing of the county communication.

Today’s meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

Hui Pono Ike Kanawai Hosts 24-Hour Vigil, Aug. 18, 2017

The native Hawaiian research group Hui Pono Ike Kanawai sponsors a 5th Annual Hoʻolauleʻa that includes a 24-hour vigil at Owa (Maui Lani Center Safeway) in honor and memory of iwi kupuna (ancestors).  The vigil starts at 7 a.m. on Aug. 18 and ends at 7 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2017.

It includes a march from several different moku (districts): leaving Lahaina from Mokuʻula at 1:30 a.m., led by Keʻeaumoku Kapu; leaving the the Kula Kai moku from the Kīhei Youth Center at 4:30 a.m., led by Vernon Kalanikau; leaving Waiheʻe Ball Park from the Wailuku moku at 7 a.m., led by Kaniloa Kamaunu; and leaving Spreckelsville from the Hamakualoa/Hamakuapoko and Kula moku at 7 a.m., led by Kauʻi Hill.

The event is being held around the theme “Ua Noho Au A Kupa” and also includes live music, food and guest speakers.

The inaugural event was held in 2012 amid controversy over the protection of burials at the construction site for the Maui Lani Safeway complex.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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