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Feb 03, 2017

"Living Westside" Community Development Summit

On Saturday, August 27, 2016 over ninety people from various avenues in and out of our community attended a Community Development Summit called “Living Westside,” which was planned and presented by the Waiʻanae Moku 2030 Navigators, 
a project of the Waiʻanae Economic Development Council at the Waiʻanae Mall.  Partners included Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Wai‘anae Coast Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Wai‘anae ʻŌlelo Community Media Center, Wai‘anae Coast Neighborhood Board No. 24, Nānākuli/Māʻili Neighborhood Board No. 36, and Liliʻuokalani Trust – Kīpuka Waiʻanae.

The goal of this event was to engage community stakeholders in a dialogue to establish a consensus on needed community projects and their priorities. These projects will be presented to both state and federal agencies for consideration of funding assistance and guidance in the near future.

A brainstorming session followed to allow attendees an opportunity to share their responses to the question: “What kinds of industry, businesses, jobs, and projects do we need in our community?” There were over 100 ideas and responses which were categorized into similar topics.

Six major topics were named and grouped into a “hui” also known as a “hub.”  Each grouping was placed into six (6) major themes: Families/Keiki & Education; Systems Change; Business Development; Community Development; ʻĀina; and Transportation.

Summit participants dispersed and gathered in separate meeting rooms to discuss and determine priorities for their hui (or hub). When they were done, they gave presentations of their discussions and the priorities they decided upon.  

These are summaries of their presentations:

  • Business Development – a business development center that would assist interested business owners with resources to start their businesses and help them become successful.  The Center would work with government agencies and with volunteers in the community who could serve as mentors.
  • Transportation — Three ideas were suggested:  synchronize traffic lights; create turning lanes; and create more bus turnouts along Farrington Highway.  Also recommended was the use of waterways (with hovercraft), alternative roads, and a permanent secondary access.
  • ʻĀina — The value of land from the perspectives of Hawaiian cultural and western views, and the importance of farming and sustainable resource management which includes the value and role of the ʻāina and what it is to our community, not just a financial asset.  There were three major points: 1) Activities and recreational areas to learn, practice and preserve culture. This supports the historical value of what and who we are, and honors those who sustained this community before us. 2) Farming practices which should include farm-to-school programs would help our schools and businesses, and learning about sustainability and self-sufficiency.  Farming can be done on land and in the sea.  3) Sustainable resource management, which includes a land management system from the mountain to the sea.
  • Families/Keiki & Education — Three-part approach: 1) economic paradigm shift; 2) cultural education; and 3) building partnerships, and the importance of empowerment and values of students.
  • Systems Change — Plan as a community what we want and how our political candidates and representatives can help us get there. Communications are important at the ahupuaʻa and moku level – the right message needs to be shared.
  • Community Development — The Community Development group discussed three main areas needed: recreational facilities, working coalitions, and community hubs and facilities.

Prioritizing – After all presentations were done, attendees prioritized the following: 1) family and education; 2) community recreation complex (including a swimming pool); 3) community center; 4) business development center; 5) commercial kitchen; 6) addressing traffic issues; and 7) developing a food co-op.

For a full, detailed summary report, please visit www.thewedc.com/library.html or www.facebook.com/LivingWestside.

Mahalo to Kīpuka Waiʻanae community building facilitators Cheryl Dela Cruz and Ginger Fuata for contributing this update.

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