Olowalu is an ecological gem, home to an extensive aggregate coral reef that spans over 450 acres and supports a diversity of rare and precious sea life. This reef area is home to 24 species of coral, a thriving black-tip reef shark nursery and a manta ray cleaning station.
Nevertheless, Frampton & Ward LLC has proposed to replace Olowalu's natural charm with a 600-acre makai to mauka development of 1,500-plus housing units.
This development spells the beginning of the end for this unique and valuable reef. Erosion and sedimentation during the construction process will smother and kill corals. Once development is complete, runoff and pollution from oil and gasoline drippings on streets and driveways, as well as fertilizers and herbicides from yards and grassy areas, will further threaten reef health.
Developers claim they have "community support," but I'm convinced it's because many Olowalu lovers don't understand the size and scope of this massive project. I urge the Maui County Council to consider Maui's marine life in their decision about this development.
Development of the Olowalu ahupua'a is unwarranted and unnecessary, and instead of alleviating expansion needs, will serve to augment overcrowding issues and undermine the very simplicity that makes Maui the island we all love. Beach access and traffic concerns aside, what is really at stake is the destruction of a precious coral reef, and the community, both on land and in the sea, that it supports.
Please make your voice heard; it's the only chance Olowalu's got.
Conservation Manager Pacific Whale Foundation