Article Written By: Katrina Valcourt
What is it?
“Loko Ea is a 400-year-old fishpond and continues to be a cultural and educational learning center for our keiki and their families,” says Rae DeCoiti, executive director of Malama Loko Ea Foundation, a steward of the pond since 2009. North Shore Outdoor Circle president Kerry Germain says the pond, which is home to many native species, was once the summer retreat of Queen Liliuokalani.
What threatens it?
Next to the pond, the space formerly occupied by a Chevron station, there are plans to build a retail complex called the Shops at Anahulu. Germain says the organization’s primary concern is that it blocks the view of Loko Ea Pond from Kamehameha Highway (in violation of the Haleiwa Special District Land Use Ordinance) and eliminates the open space on the banks of the pond. “Malama Loko Ea Foundation and [landowner] Kamehameha Schools are working to restore the fishpond to be working aquaculture resource providing edible food, so the concerns for protecting water quality are obvious,”she says. It’s not clear how the developers, Lokea Kai Partners LLC, will deal with possible runoff and their as-yet-unapproved septic system, though they have said it goes beyond the minimum safety requirements. In additions, Germain says Chevron was required to clean up the contaminated soil but submitted a report to the health department in July stating some of the contamination still remains.
What can be done?
As of September, Germain said a number of permits were still needed before the project could be undertaken, including: a construction plan approval, a building permit, a sewer connection permit and a street-usage permit. The organization is advocating for a conservation easement that would still provide revenue to landowner Queen Liliuokalani Trust, but also preserve and protect the area, rather than add more retail stores. The North Shore Outdoor Circle also supports Kamehameha School’s proposal to incorporate the parcel into multiuse path that runs from Haleiwa Beach Park through Puaena Point. The trust, Lokea Kai and Kamehameha Schools would all have to agree on an alternative; the trust has shown no interest in changing its plans. While the Outdoor Circle respects the trustees’ “kuleana to oversee their lands as they deem appropriate.” DeCoito says, “we do not feel that this development is in the best alignment with our mission and goal to restore the fishpond as a food source for the community.”