Only four testify at landfill hearing
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
KAPOLEI With the city just a couple of weeks away from likely state approval to expand the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, opponents of the plan have apparently thrown in the towel.
Advertiser library photo
"No matter what people say, you're going to come out with exactly the same permit," Sen. Colleen Hanabusa said.
Advertiser library photo
Three of the four who spoke were elected officials and the other was a spokesman for the Ko Olina resort. No one from the public testified at the 20-minute hearing.
Residents had shown up in force at earlier hearings to complain about the odor, litter and pests from the landfill. The dump is near the communities of Ko Olina, Honokai Hale and Nanakuli.
The landfill will reach capacity by mid-May and the health department is expected to grant the expansion permit. The state Land Use Commission has given the city permission to keep the landfill operating for another five years while city officials search for a new landfill site.
The harshest criticism last night came from state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), who accused the health department of ignoring citizens' concerns.
"No matter what people say, you're going to come out with exactly the same permit. There's something fundamentally wrong with that," Hanabusa said. "It appears that the Department of Health is going to go down its merry path again and just simply give another five years."
Sen. Brian Kanno, D-19th (Kapolei, Makakilo, Waikele) also said the city broke a promise when the landfill opened in 1987 that the dump would be closed once it reached capacity. Not only is the landfill still open, Kanno said, it will grow and place "additional burdens on families, businesses and health."
"Expansion plans also include the utilization of the ocean side of the landfill, which is particularly offensive and obnoxious to the community," Kanno said.
Leeward O'ahu City Councilman Mike Gabbard was the only person who favored the expansion. But his support came with several conditions, including the closure of the landfill before the five years is up if possible.
The public has until Thursday to submit written comments on the expansion to the state's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch.
In approving the city's permit application, the Land Use Commission said the city must meet several conditions by the end of June 2004 or the permit will be terminated. The administration must present recommendations for a new site to the City Council by Dec. 1, and the council must select a site by June 1, 2004.