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Kihei Outlet Malls Not Wanted

Proposed project missed mark on economic, ecological and social scales.

March 8, 2012
Netra Halperin, Executive Producer, Netra’s News T.V. · Kihei , The Maui Weekly

The people of South Maui should have serious concerns about Eclipse Development Group's proposed Kihei outlet malls. There is already way too much vacant commercial space in Kihei--most of our small businesses are struggling. These mega-malls will quickly put mom-and-pop shops out of business.

Also, the mall design is outdated. A huge 3,671-car parking lot (Costco has 700) is ugly, heat inducing and incorporates no renewable energy or ecosystems infrastructure elements. Cities and towns worldwide are seeing that this old style of development ruins communities. Eclipse's proposed mega-mall fall short in all three criteria of the triple bottom line of public sector full-cost accounting. In the economic aspect, it puts existing shops out of business, pays low wages. In the environmental aspect, it incorporates no energy conservation or creation measures, no run-off mitigation plans (such as roof gardens or pervious parking lots). And in the social aspect, it has no local character and instead brings in more businesses owned by Mainland corporations.

The energy needs of this mall will cement Maui Electric Company's plans to install 70-foot power-poles through Kihei. While a project that uses an ecosystems infrastructure would create its own energy and clean its own waste--instead of burdening Maui residents with these costs--and with the "uglification" of our tourist island.

According to Eclipse's Website, " the site sees roughly 38,000 cars per day. This figure is expected to double " Eclipse actually admits that they are going to create traffic congestion. Pi'ilani Highway is already compromised--we don't want it turned into a parking lot.

Eclipse claims that they will bring jobs to Kihei. Yet I don't see there being a net gain in the actual number of (minimum wage) jobs--just a shift from locally owned businesses to national chains.

The only real argument for these malls is the temporary construction jobs that building them will create. However, we don't know whether the work will go to local or imported workers. This is short-sighted. We, as a community, do not need to be in a beggar's position, taking whatever developers offer. The government is our representative, elected by us to bargain for our best interests. Many citizens volunteered countless hours to create the Maui County General Plan. Nowhere is a desire for mega-malls expressed.

If county and state government officials want to get construction workers employed, then instead of just saying "yes" to any Mainland corporation that wants to use our community for their own benefit, they should expedite pro-social projects, such as the Kihei High School.



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