The complexion and neighborhood of Kahuku Plantation Camp continue to change
Continental Pacific, LLC from Florida purchased available land acreages, including the Kahuku Plantation Camp, from the Estate of James Campbell in 2006.
The gentrification of Oahu’s rural Kahuku Plantation Camp continues. About thirty-one (31) local families are facing evicting. The Eugenio Family home , next to the Kahuku Methodist Church, along Kamehameha Highway has been razed as of yesterday.
Today, the Kahuku Plantation Village of about 70 houses is in turmoil. Many are facing eviction from homes they’ve stayed in their entire lives. The sweat and equity of these inter-generational laborers; along with their heritage and roots are tied to this plantation camp.
What is occurring at the Kahuku Village Plantation Camp has happened elsewhere and can be quickly summarized in one word — “Gentrification”.
In a nutshell, gentrification is the compressed evolution of massive development in communities that produces “winners” and “losers.”
It’s obvious the “losers” are usually the less affluent.
Gentrification chases the less affluent out of their communities due to the influx of new money and spending power. The less affluent are unable to pay rising rents, property taxes, real estate and the accelerating costs of living. Local businesses may lose their leases under competition or have to keep up with newly built commercial spaces with higher built-in expenses. Development will provide short-term construction jobs to some but what happens next?
Gentrification can alter lifestyle, values, and identity of communities when left unchecked. It inevitably creates disconnect and conflicts in communities. In Hawaii, it’s become a volatile struggle to protecting the local culture and values, environment, finite resources, and a chosen island lifestyle that many hold dear.
Fortunately, Oahu has had a visionary General Plan since the 1970s under the leadership of then Gov. George Ariyoshi. Oahu was divided into eight different geographic areas, delineating different land-use policies that include Primary urban center (Honolulu), Secondary urban center (Kapolei), Urban – fringe (Koolauloa Poko), and Rural designations (Koolau Loa, North Shore, and Waianae).
This Oahu General Plan is a careful compromise to preserve what we hold hear about Hawaii and to address development.
To prevent urban sprawl and inevitable gentrification, decision makers must respect and adhere to the existing Oahu General Plan. There has to be a line of demarcation to safeguard viability and diversity in land-use decisions for Oahu. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.
This Oahu General Plan that protects the Koolau Loa and the North Shore’s charm of old Hawaii, finite resources, food security, watersheds, open space, recreational spaces, view planes, rural lifestyle, and especially the stability of kamaaina residents, must continue to be the basis for objective ‘Big Picture’ land-use planning. Decision makers must not allow big developers to hijack and amend this document to fit their own agenda.
“Keep the Country Country” — from Kahaluu to Haleiwa — is an integral part of needed diversity and versatility for a thriving and sustainable Oahu. This cause has never sounded so pragmatic and urgent for this iconic region as the first shoe of gentrification drops in Kahuku. It’s not about the past; it’s about the future.