As highlighted by our mission statement, Mālama Mānoa values the unique character of our valley. We appreciate that we live in a community that hosts a diverse population of both people and places, and we strive to preserve, protect, and support the special qualities of this historic valley.
We support the idea that Paradise Park could be developed as an asset to the community, celebrating the heritage of our islands and the valley in particular. Mālama Mānoa believes many elements of the Paradise Park proposal could be beneficial to the Valley. In particular, we are excited about: the plan to remove invasive albizia trees and restore the native forests, the proposal that would allow for a gathering place for hula hālau, and the potential of the site to act as an educational facility to visitors and residents. Lyon Arboretum is an excellent example of a facility serving as a valuable educational and cultural resource to valley residents and visitors.
However, as we have gathered information about the potential scope of the Paradise Park project, we have become concerned that the project could also have a negative impact on the Valley. If the full plan laid out in the recently approved Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) approval is realized, the number of visitors and the traffic this would bring to the valley and the end of Manoa road is of significant concern. We have heard many valley residents voice concerns over the potential impact of the development and how it could affect the character of the valley and the neighborhood near the park entrance.
Mālama Mānoa believes that Paradise Park could demonstrate their interest in responding to community concerns by agreeing to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project. We understand that CDUP applications typically require environmental review and, although the Park’s CDUP may have been “grandfathered”, such a move by Paradise Park would go a long way toward developing better transparency and communication for residents with this project. An EIS would help to clarify the impact that the Paradise Park proposal would have on the Valley and the neighborhoods nearest the Park, and give all parties the opportunity to listen and respond to others’ concerns.