POSTED: 5 NOVEMBER 2008 -  11:30am HST

Bike Path at Wailua Beach

image above: Mouth of the Wailua River looking north-west by Robert on Picasa

by Wendy Raeback on 5 Decmeber 2008

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Last night’s showing to protect Sacred Wailua was magnificent. At least 60 members of the community watched the Path presentation then poured their hearts out to the designers and managers of the project.

Though the crowd had to request that genuine time be allotted for community input, rather than the [standard on Kaua’i] “Oops, sorry, but it’s 9:00, thanks for coming,” the Path people listened graciously to what they surely didn’t want to hear: that, even though it’s “officially” too late for this, the Wailua part of the plan is seriously flawed by not taking enough into account the cultural, spiritual, visual and recreational realities of Wailua Beach. Apparently, the community thinks it’s never too late, despite cost and inconvenience, to do the right thing -- basically, to put the path mauka of the beach.

Though the Path people (O’ahu designers, Kaua’i managers), truthfully, maintain that no matter what they come up with, there will be criticism and complaints, there was too much powerful sentiment last night to ignore. And by evening’s end (eleven o’clock), after the forum peetered out to more of a pow-wow, and Path people obligingly heard every last word, there was a sense of true communication.

As it often is here, there’s no dislike or animosity, and essentially we all want what’s best.....we just have to work it out. And that willingness to try, the generosity of both giving and accepting mana’o, is a real strength of our island.
This is not to say the Path won’t go in exactly as the diagrams intend, but there will be another community meeting, the community is tighter, and the facts, including the spiritual ones (if there’s such a thing as a spiritual fact), are on the table. If the Path were to proceed as planned, it would be against the wishes of the people. Of all the testimony, there were only two in support.

So thank you, again, from the sands under Wailua Bay to the waters atop Ale Ale, for not just your presence and testimony at the meeting, (or for wishing you could be there but couldn’t), but for the deeper reasons why you care.



POSTED: 4 NOVEMBER 2008 -  2:00pm HST

Bike Path at Wailua Beach

image above: Wailua Beach looking south

[Editor's Note: We apologise for getting this notice up two days late. You can still attend the upcoming meeting. It is tonight. We do both agree with Wendy, however, that the bikepath/walkway show cross the highway at Wailua Beach. We think it could be slipped on the mauka (inland) side of the stone seawall].

by Wendy Raeback on 2 Decmeber 2008

Wailua area bikepath meeting

Thursday, December 4th - 7:00 PM

LYDGATE PARK - MAIN PAVILION (behind the lifeguard tower)

Because I live near Wailua Beach, it's part of my life, and I value it exactly as it is -- small, changeable, fragile, beautiful. But in casting my net around, to catch Wailua Beach supporters, I'm finding that most people don't care too much about this beach. A lot have never walked on it, and don't consider it much of a resource. I'd say the thrust is that a path down there would make it more desirable, more accessible. With the path, they will enjoy the beach -- without the path, they'll never go there.

One would think that, because of the close highway, that the beach isn't enjoyable. But when you're down there, you hear the ocean waves, not the highway. You're immersed in that all-consuming beach-reality of water and waves, color and wind, majesty and movement. The highway is the last thing on your mind. It is a peaceful stretch of sand and the sacredness of the entire bay is undeniable when you're gazing out at 20 shades of blue. It is a quiet beach, with few people on it, and in its own way, despite the highway, it feels secluded.

I understand the intentions of the Path. I'm just committed to saving this piece of heaven before it's too late. The Path is one thing, the beach is another -- why combine them? Keep them as two wonderful, different things.
The other issue is basic ecology: global warming, erosion, tides, storms, the changeable river-mouth flood zone with shifting sands, hurricanes, and winds. We're building our pedestrian path 30 feet from the ocean in 2008? Who pays to have it reconstructed after a storm? Who pays to have it re-routed in 10 years? Are these monies factored in?

We have 3 days left to design a package of persuasion, a strong and compelling enough alliance to save this beach -- recreational haven for canoe clubs, surfers, fishermen, kite-surfers, tourists, and tons of local families who picnic with their kids at the river-mouth. Not to mention the crabs, birds, trees and flora that complete the ecosystem. There's no way that a path across that beach -- no matter how nice -- won't bring paved parking lots, restrooms, lights, litter, showers, bike racks, and lifeguards. Then lots more cars, and lots more traffic in general. And the Path will take away at least some, if not all, of the trees that add lushness and that separate the beach from the highway.

FYI, the current plan is: at the new Waipouli Resort, the Path will turn away from the coast and continue south mauka, behind Foodland all the way to Kintaro's, where there will be a new traffic light, and the Path will then go back makai....around Kintaro's, on Papaloa Rd. behind the Shell Station to Wailua Beach -- then along the beach all the way to the small bridge, over which it will cross the river and then connect to the Lydgate portion of the Path. What do you think of THAT?

THE PATH NEEDS TO STAY ON THE MAUKA SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY and not cross at Kintaro's. It should go along the Coco Palms side of the highway, alongside the new traffic lane being constructed there. (Better yet, behind Coco Palms where there's already a trail, but that, we're told, is out of the question.) Wherever the new traffic lane is going over the river (big bridge) is where the Path should go, too -- with, obviously, some divider/separation from the cars. After the river, there should be an overpass getting the Path back to Lydgate. (Better yet, would be for it to continue mauka all the way to the Hanama'ulu light because, again, there are existing cane roads all the way across that entire expanse of fields. But this concept, too, is completely out of the question -- the Path isn't going to Lihu'e, remember, (even though you might want to) it's going to Hanama'ulu Bay, then Ahukini Landing, then around the airport and the golf course and ending up at the Marriot in Nawiliwili.) Just FYI.

But if we can protect Wailua Beach from becoming a byway of cycles, joggers, strollers pushing strollers, tourist clusters and all the etcetera that follows an endless stream of humans, we will strengthen our commitment to the island, and the vision that new structures (buildings or byways) be painstakingly conscientious; and we'll again send out the message that people on Kaua'i stand up for their land and waters. Especially the historically sacred.

Fortunately, we have a well-spring of dedicated, articulate people who see testimonial duty as a primary safeguard in preserving the island. Your perspective, your experience, and your passion about protecting beaches is NEEDED. Please come to the LAST meeting for public input about the Path being constructed ON Wailua Beach. And please voice your sentiments. The majority will prevail.

see also:
Island Breath: Kauai Pathway
Island Breath: Kealia Bike Monument
Island Breath: Kauai Bike Network

Island Breath: Bike Path - Ahukini to Lydgate Route