I have a hard time digesting the lack of the much-needed Kihei High School while the Pi'ilani mega-mall is being built adjacent to the high school's vacant lot. Many people with whom I've spoken favor the mall because they think the Kihei High School is being built along with the mall, since it is on the site plan. This is one of the many deceptions and misconceptions surrounding the mall.
The mall has no connection with the high school.
So how is it that the Kihei High School has been on the Urban Growth Plan for South Maui for over 10 years, and this mega-mall with 700,000 square feet of retail space (five times the size of Costco in Kahului) and 3,800-plus parking spaces, was never on the site plan as a mega-mall?
How come $20 million to build the Kihei High School lapsed because of zoning on a state and local level? It will be years before we see a high school. Yet, within two years of Eclipse Development Group's purchase of the property, this mega-mall is allowed to pass through non-compliance of Land Use Commission conditions, slip in on light industrial with work begun on the property already.
Eclipse Development Group President Doug Gray said (The Maui News, Jan. 29), "We can't please everyone; however, I think most residents will be pleased with the development and tenants. If we let a committee develop a site, it never would get built. When the community wants to risk $200 million in this economy, they can become developers."
The high school would create career opportunities as well as jobs and circulate income within our own island economy. The mega-mall would provide low-paying jobs, and most of their profits go off-island to their corporate headquarters. In fact, it creates job losses with the demise of small businesses.
Who kept this mega-mall off the Urban Growth Plan for South Maui? Who allowed this to slip by everything and everyone? Who is benefiting financially from this mega-mall--other than the developer?
Eclipse has insulted our intelligence and ignored our desires for healthy growth of our economy and lifestyle that benefits and befits our community. And they still refuse to meet face-to-face with the residents of the community.
Do we need more retail space when Maui, island-wide, already has the highest retail vacancy rate in 13 years, and in the past 12 months an additional 203,000 square feet of retail space has become vacant? (The Maui News, July 9).
Has Mainland-style consumerism become more important than our education, our environment, our lifestyle, Maui's magic and aloha?
Speak up and tell everyone you know--especially the media. Write letters, comments and sign petitions. Every voice creates a larger chorus that will be heard. Together, we can build a sustainable future for the health and betterment of our residents, our community and Maui, well into the future.
Visit www.gokihei.org/development-project-review/eclipse-agrees-to-meet-with-kca and www.maui-tomorrow.org for more information.
Be vocal--keep local alive.