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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, August 13, 2001

Kamilo Nui Valley farmers getting trashed

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau

HAWAI'I KAI — The back of Kamilo Nui Valley is not a dumping ground, and the farmers who live there want everyone to know that.

It's not a place to throw old televisions, grass clippings, tree limbs or scraps of lumber. But these items, and more, are often thrown on the side of the road and eventually get into the marina, and that's where the trouble starts, the farmers say.

The Kamilo Nui Farmers Cooperative says the debris washes down into the marina from the Kamilo Nui spillway and could cause a navigational hazard. At least once a month the farmers bring their tractors out to the spillway and along the side of the road and collect the rubbish, said Katsumi Higa, the cooperative's secretary treasurer.

But trash still winds up floating in the marina near the spillway, which is maintained by the farmers. The spillway was built more than 30 years ago, when John Henry Kaiser developed Hawai'i Kai and moved the farmers to the valley.

The Hawai'i Kai Marina Community Association, which has jurisdiction over the marina, believes Kamehameha Schools is the legal owner of the land, says Hugh Fraser, association president. The farmers accept their responsibility for the spillway, but want the community to know that they are picking up the trash.

"We want the residents to know that this area isn't a dumping ground," Higa said. "It's been a constant problem. We have to hire a dump truck to haul away the rubbish when it piles up."

Whenever rubbish is found near the spillway, the privately owned marina calls the Kamilo Nui Farmers Cooperative to fish it out. Sometimes the item is too big or in too deep and the cooperative has to hire someone to do the hauling, Higa said.

At a recent community meeting, the farmers made a plea urging the public to use the city trash service to remove bulky items and not dump them on the vacant land near the farmers.

"This has been going on for a couple years," Higa said. "I don't understand why people do that. The trash is in a trash bag. Each week we find three or four bags thrown on the side of the road."

Police have not received complaints about the area recently, but in the past have heard from residents complaining about kids using the spillway for skateboarding and about the trash.

The situation is a concern for resident Gayle Carr, who lives in the end of the Kailaula Kai community. Her home is next to the graffiti covered spillway. Often she fishes out 2x4s and other debris from the marina, she said.

"The spillway is eroding right into my property," Carr said. "The spillway wasn't built right and somehow the farmers are responsible for it."

Correction: The Hawai'i Kai Marina Community Association has jurisdiction over the marina. Incorrect information appeared in a previous version of this story.