BY SCOTT FOSTER — At the request of the Hanalei to Haena Community Association, Pierre Omidyar’s resort development team from his Ohana Real Estate Investors LLC (OREI) will make a public presentation at 6 pm at the Hanalei School Cafeteria on Tuesday November 13, 2012, regarding the company’s plans to “develop a hotel and residential project on an approximately 63.6-acre site located adjacent to and north of the Hanalei River and northeast of Hanalei Bay in Hanalei, Island of Kauai. … The Hanalei Plantation Resort project is proposed to include a total of 120 transient accommodation units consisting of 34 single-family residential lots and a low-density hotel development comprised of 86 cottage units; and amenities including a restaurant, meeting facility, spa, and pool area; and enhancement of the marsh area.”
All are invited to come learn more about the proposed Hanalei River Ridge development, ask questions and share their mana`o. Everyone is welcome.
Despite 5,000+ petition signers, strong, visible community opposition, and several attempts to dialog directly with Mr. Omidyar, the Oahu resident and billionaire founder of eBay has thus far declined to personally dialog with concerned Kauai Community leaders.
This conflict leaves everyone wondering why is Omidyar who, according to his Philanthropic foundations, believes in a “sustainable Hawaii” is wanting to force such an enormous development on the Garden Island? “The Omidyar Network was founded on the fundamental belief that every person has the power to make a difference” — but the founder himself refuses to listen to people who are trying to protect their fragile home island.
Many Kauai residents expressed surprise to learn the full extent of Mr. Omidyar’s involvement in the development of similar ultra-exclusive resorts on other pristine US coastlines. Forbes Magazine estimates Omidyar’s net worth at $8.2B making him the 50th wealthiest person in the United States.
A member of Save Hanalei River Ridge, Hayley Ham Young-Giorgio says, “Mr. Omidyar, this is an opportunity for you to hear Hanalei’s community, along with a whole population of people throughout the world – The REAL Ohana Hanalei – who have been touched by the essential beauty of Hanalei. You have the power to help preserve its nature, culture and essence. Do not built on the Hanalei River Ridge.”
In an earlier email message to the organization’s 5,000+ petition signers, Ms. Young-Giorgio had written, “To introduce multi-million-dollar homes sitting on top of the ridge looking down on Black Pot, would break the hearts of the thousands of people who live here and also those who come to visit and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the River and the Bay. A resort development on this massive scale on the Hanalei River Ridge opens the door to letting it become more like Laguna Beach and less like Hanalei; this Garden of Eden that so well defines Kauai.”
Scott Foster submitted this on behalf of Kauai’s North Shore residents