Sunday, August 5, 2001

UH President Evan Dobelle gave the opening speech to the Second
Regional Islandwide Vision Meeting, yesterday. In his speech, he
stressed that the city, state, private sector and university should
work together to boost the local economy.

UH’s Dobelle
flags regional

Hundreds gather to discuss
visions for improving
the island

By Diana Leone

The University of Hawaii will play an active role in improving Oahu, President Evan Dobelle pledged to hundreds of residents gathered for the second Regional Islandwide Vision Meeting yesterday.

Dobelle called on the city, state, private sector and university to work together toward a diversified economy that includes high-tech, bio-tech, ocean research, diversified agriculture and medical consulting in the Pacific area. UH has expertise in all those areas, he said.

City & County of Honolulu Developing UH into a premier research center for ocean science and astronomy will benefit the local economy, he said.

Another UH contribution to new economic opportunities will be a new degree program in television and film production, Dobelle announced.

On the environmental front, he called for more use of alternative energy, "not more coal and oil poisoning our shared environment," the use of electric mass-transit vehicles and reclaiming wastewater for agricultural uses.

"Hawaii is a special place and deserves our very best and our most excellent effort," Dobelle said. He received a standing ovation from the crowd of about 600 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

"Dobelle was a breath of fresh air, offering the university as a resource for improving the island," said Kailua resident John Mazur. "Fantastic."

Local architect Alan Nemiroff demonstrated a jazzy new software that allows incredibly speedy design work.

City Managing Director Ben Lee said the city has bought seven sets of software and computerized whiteboards at a cost of about $3,000 each. The tools will be made available to every neighborhood board and vision team that wants to use it, he said.

Attendees met by region to discuss whether they approve of the dreams put forward at the first regional meeting in April, and in some cases to add more projects to the list.

At the Downtown West regional meeting, Lorrie Chee, city deputy planning director, reminded participants that these are proposals that won't materialize overnight. "These are concepts and ideas of what you might like to see in the region in the long-term," she said.

Lisa Mitchell, a member of the Kalihi-Palama Vision Team, warned against massive concrete structures and paving open areas. "I'd like to see ... a better interface between this vision and true sustainability, like permeable surfaces."

Byron Yogi, also of the Kalihi-Palama Vision Team, said he wants to be sure projects like improving the Kalihi Kai waterfront don't drive small businesses out of area, which has reasonable rents.

In the North Shore/Central area meeting, Haleiwa Main Street President Anya Miller said the challenge is "how do you improve the town without ruining the quaintness of it."

Wahiawa Vision Team member Ellen Hyer asked that the panoramic view as one heads makai toward Haleiwa and Waialua be preserved. "We need to keep that open space, not spoil that area."

Ka Leo O Hawaii
University of Hawaii

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