Opponents speak out
against landfill at quarry

Kapaa Quarry is one of
four sites being considered

Converting Kailua's Kapaa Quarry into a landfill could drive up concrete prices and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, the quarry's operator told residents and community leaders last night at an informational meeting on the proposal.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we think they'd come after us," said Ameron Hawaii President Wade Wakayama. The company runs the quarry and produces more than half of the state's concrete. "There's about 10 years of rock left to be extracted (at the site). At today's prices that's about $75 million."

More than 50 people gathered at the Kailua Recreation Center for about two hours yesterday, chiefly to form a strategy for opposing the quarry's conversion.

The City Council is required by the state Land Use Commission to choose one site by June, and will hold a public meeting to hear community concerns about turning the quarry into a landfill at 7 p.m. March 30 at the Kailua Recreation Center.

"Ameron is a vital resource to this entire island," said City Councilwoman Barbara Marshall, whose district includes Kailua. "We're seeing this right now with the (concrete) strike. Picture that for eternity, because that's what going to happen."

A 15-member committee appointed by Mayor Jeremy Harris recommended four sites for a new landfill, whittled down from 34 possible contenders.

The other proposed sites are in Maili, Nanakuli and Makaiwa.

Waimanalo Gulch scored highest of the finalists but was voted off the list by committee members. The decision prompted four members of the panel to resign.

Le Jardin Headmaster Adrian Allan said he Is concerned that a landfill at the quarry would create a safety concern for his students driving on Kapaa Quarry Road, the only entrance to the school.

"Parents will be concerned about the proximity ... and (about) 400 to 500 very big trucks trooping down this road," Allan said. "We won't see it but we might smell it."

Environmentalists are also concerned that runoff from the landfill would contaminate Kawainui Marsh, which sits below the site.

"It's the biggest marsh in the state, and people are working hard to restore it," said Mike McMahon of the Kailua Bay Advisory Council, a conservation-minded community coalition. "Whatever happens up there has an effect" on the environment, he said.

Bev Markoskie, who has lived in Kailua all her life, said the decision of where to place a new landfill is a difficult one. "It's one of those things," she said. "I think nobody wants it in their back yard."

According to the mayor's landfill selection committee, keeping the landfill at Waimanalo Gulch would be the cheapest option and cost the city less than half as much as the next-cheapest competitor, Maili. Maintaining a landfill at Kapaa Quarry would be the most expensive option, costing $1.78 million a year.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --