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New coalition brings together Maui residents to rally for new uses of A&B’s former sugar cane lands
Advocates for affordable housing, local food, and the environment come together to plan for Maui’s sustainable future
KAHULUI, HAWAIʻI (Wednesday, April 18) — The end of commercial sugarcane cultivation on thousands of acres in Central Maui that are held by Alexander & Baldwin poses challenges but is also tremendous opportunity to address many of the long-standing problems facing the people of Maui. The island’s population continues to grow as tourism reaches new levels, all the while Maui residents are priced out of their homes, the majority of the food is imported, and unique environments and culturally sensitive lands are destroyed or access is denied.
Maui could have a very different future, one that meets the needs of its people while continuing to offer its beauty and cultural legacy for the world to enjoy. The Hukilike No Maui: Together for Maui Coalition seeks to bring together communities that advocate for affordable housing, small scale agriculture, and conservation to create a brighter future for Maui. The coalition was started by long-time Maui advocates for affordable housing, agriculture, and the environment.
“In 2017, the Hukilike Coalition did an affordable housing survey where we asked residents to tell us about their problems with housing on Maui. The responses were sobering: so many people who have lived here for generations are not seeing a future on this island because they can’t afford to buy or rent housing in this market,” said Rob Weltman, chairperson of the Sierra Club Maui Group and member of the Hukilike No Maui Coalition. “It’s clear the island’s environmental resources are under stress, but so are Maui’s people. We need to build far more affordable housing and expand our local food production.”
While not always seeing eye to eye in the past, the Hukilike partners understand that these problems are interconnected and progress in these areas requires working together to identify land use solutions that meet the needs of the whole community. This requires a new, holistic, and collaborative approach to planning that looks beyond individual parcels and projects and takes into account the long-term and complete requirements for infrastructure, jobs, education, retail, services, and recreation, as well as protecting the quality of our ʻāina, kai, wai, and the integrity of our special places.
“For too long, there has been too much animosity between the groups about how to develop this island. Now we’re coming together to listen to each other’s concerns and make a decision together,” said Stan Franco, FACE Maui Housing Co-Chair and member of the coalition. “No single person or organization has answers to all the challenges. But working collectively with the community, big, innovative solutions can be found.”
After a year of meeting with stakeholders, the coalition publicly announced its first campaign, “15% for the Future,” which petitions Alexander & Baldwin to donate or allow the sale of lands in Puʻunēnē and Haliʻimaile to local entities to establish small scale agriculture to serve the community’s needs and affordable housing for Maui residents. The Hukilike Coalition is also asking A&B to create permanent conservation easements or donate particular areas that have cultural and environmental significance, and make arrangements for those lands to be cared for by local cultural practitioners. The public can sign onto the petition at hukilikenomaui.org
“All of Maui’s people could benefit if we adopt a sustainable approach to the use of the Central Maui lands. We have an unique opportunity right now to address the needs of Maui’s residents. If we make those changes today, Maui’s future will be so much brighter for ourselves and our future generations,” said Lehua Simon, lifelong Pukalani resident and member of the Hukilike No Maui Coalition.
Maui residents and allies will deliver the petition at A&B’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018. A “15% for the Future” rally will be held on Maui that same day at 12 pm, outside A&B’s Kahului office at 11 S. Puʻunēnē Avenue.
About Hukilike no Maui: Formed in 2017, Hukilike no Maui is a coalition of affordable housing advocates, local food production advocates, environmentalists, and Maui residents that recognized the need to unite to advocate for the sustainable future of their island. The coalition aims to create space for Maui’s communities to be an active part in the future of A&B’s former sugar cane land.