Molokai Community Plan open house workshop gathers local input; second event planned for Oct. 16.
By David Lichtenstein
The County of Maui Department of Planning began its update of the 2001 Molokai Community Plan with an open house June 26. As described in The Molokai News, the event was just the beginning of a three-year process that will lead to the development and implementation of a plan to give our island better control of its fate.
At the first meeting, residents shared with county officials ideas and information that they considered important to Molokai’s future. Comments were taken on sticky notes and posters on issues of the economy, infrastructure, housing, development, environment and tourism. Feedback was received on the cultural and educational needs of Molokai as well.
These initial ideas became part of the second event in this process on Saturday, as county planners gathered more specific feedback from the community on the values, issues and goals that need to be addressed in the plan.
Approximately 40 people at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center were divided into five groups.
As a member of group 3, I was teamed with local kupuna, residents and business professionals as we started by reviewing a vision statement that begins … “Molokai is the last Hawaiian island. We who live here choose not to be strangers in our own land.”
(If you would like to see the complete text of the “Molokai Vision Statement,” simply leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahalo!)
Group 3 members said they liked the inclusiveness in the vision plan and its emphasis on the strong connection that Molokai has to its land. Facilitator Tom Dinell, a planning consultant and professor emeritus at University of Hawaii, summarized some of the group’s ideas: “The challenge is how to incorporate change that reinforces and supports this vision.”
Challenges and opportunities were charted by each group in the areas of economics, environmental resources, housing, historic and cultural resources, infrastructure and land use development. In each of these areas, initial ideas were expanded on while the goals and future ideal conditions were considered.
The last part of the open house was to reach a consensus on strategies and ideas on how to reach these goals. While interesting and thoughtful comments came out of these discussions, the strategies and ideas will be more carefully explored at the next workshop.
The next workshop will be Saturday, Oct. 16, again starting at 9 a.m. at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center. Expect more coffee, food and lively discussion around these vital issues that will help determine Molokai’s course for the future.