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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, June 15, 2001

OHA, city must partner at Waimea

While there are plenty of good reasons for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to get involved in the ownership and/or management of Waimea Falls Park, there is no purpose in falling into a bidding war with the city over the site.

Thus, as OHA and the City and County move forward with identical $5.2 million offers for the commercial attraction and rare plant arboretum, it is crucial that the two agencies work together toward this goal, not in competition.

The OHA board has voted to pursue buying the attraction on its own. It has agreed to offer $5.2 million, the same sum set aside by the city for possible condemnation of Waimea.

Trustee John Waihee III, who is the prime advocate for an OHA purchase, said it is still possible that his agency and the city might partner on this project "at the end of the day." Why not early in the day?

There is some sense in spending public money to preserve this park for public use and also a means of protecting and sharing Hawaiian cultural and natural resources. But there is little sense in having one public agency competing with another to make the deal.