Group wants trees moved for festival
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A new environmental nonprofit group in Hawaii is talking with the city about possibly uprooting and relocating several trees on Magic Island to accommodate its first-ever summit and concert, planned for next year.
Organizers of Blue Planet Festival said putting on a grand four-day event in April, with environmentalists from around the world talking about policies promoting clean and alternative energy, could require several trees to be moved.
The Outdoor Circle objects to relocating these trees because it would create a barren area in Magic Island.
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COURTESY BOB LOY / OUTDOOR CIRCLE
The Outdoor Circle is objecting to Blue Planet Festival's plans to relocate about 15 trees for a planned event in April. This is an aerial shot of Magic Island.
The Outdoor Circle is fighting against another tree project, urging the city not to uproot any trees on Magic Island for a new local environmental group wanting to put on a four-day event next year.
Bob Loy, director of the Outdoor Circle's environmental programs, said he met with city officials on Wednesday about relocating 15 trees on Magic Island that would be in the way of a planned event in April.
"Our concern is that the city is brokering a deal with what is a relatively speculative adventure and that they would contemplate relocating or removing trees that would accommodate an event that might or might not succeed," Loy said.
Organizers of Blue Planet Festival, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to clean and alternative energy, say they are in preliminary talks with the city about their event in Magic Island that could include removing several trees blocking the audience's view of a large stage.
They hope to host a two-day summit to include environmental experts and government officials and a two-day music festival to raise awareness about clean energy.
"Our goal is to have a world-class event," said Dirk Fukushima, producer of Blue Planet Festival, whose background is in television producing. "There may be modifications, but in the end the park would be a better place. We would enhance the park."
But Loy said several of the trees that are too damaged would not be worth relocating, and the project could decrease the number of trees in the park.
"By removing most of the shade trees from this large central area of the park, it's going to leave it as a hot, shadeless area that discourages park users," Loy said yesterday.
City spokesman Bill Brennan said there are no plans to cut down any trees at Magic Island and noted that the city has worked with the Outdoor Circle in the past about tree projects.
"Honolulu is a Tree City USA, and the city would not do anything to jeopardize that designation," Brennan wrote yesterday in an e-mail. "For the Outdoor Circle to now imply that the city would cut down 15 trees at Magic Island is at best an overreaction, and at worst, absurd and irresponsible."
Brennan said any approval for the event, which is planned for April 3 to 6, would have to meet the city's satisfaction.
Recently, Outdoor Circle met with state transportation officials after a public outcry against the removal of several dozen trees along the H-2 freeway from Waipio to Mililani.
Loy said they hope there is a similar outcome that the Outdoor Circle will have input before any projects involving tree removals.