By Eloise Aguiar News Editor, Windward Sun Press
KAILUA – The city is denying a claim that it has violated an agreement not to take any action to demolish Camp Kailua until an environmental assessment if completed.
The Citizens for Camp Kailua, an ad hoc committee, said at a press conference Sunday that the city is removing fixtures, windows and doors from the controversial park. but Carl Ichida, city corporation counsel, said the parks department had scheduled the work prior to the agreement.
“The removal of the equipment had been planned months before the legal action came up,” Ichida said. “I don’t think the city is in violation of its agreement.”
He said that the city removed non-functional equipment two weeks ago. the Equipment was to be repaired and used at other parks, he said.
“However, in the best interest of the parks department and Kailua, I have asked the department not to do anything until the assessment is completed,” Ichida said.
The Citizens for Camp Kailua said that the removal of equipment is “just another example of an attitude of “to hell with you, we do what we want no matter what,”
said Ursula Retherford, a spokesperson for the group.
“The city promised not to do anything until the environmental assessment was done,” Retherford said.
The city made an agreement with Hawaii’s Thousand Friends over a lawsuit to require an environmental assessment prior to demolition of the camp.
Retherford said the city agreed to prepare the assessment and hold a public informational meeting before taking any further action at the site.
“The city, however, after signing the agreement on May 3, continued its demolition of the camp,” she said. “We believe that this demolition was done deliberately to undermine the public’s desire to preserve the camp.”
Retherford said that removing equipment form the camp “piece by piece is apparently intended to make the environmental assessment meaningless by the time it is concluded.”
Thomas Grande, attorney for Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, said that the removal of the equipment does not affect the agreement and the assessment will be done.
“The action, however, violates the spirit, if not the letter of the agreement,” Grande said.
Grande received a letter form Ichida explaining that the work at the park had been scheduled before the agreement, he said. The letter said only non-working equipment was taken.
Grande said no action will be taken against the city for removing the equipment because the purpose of the suit was to make the city conduct an assessment and that is being done.
The city is holding a public meeting to discuss and hear comments on its Kailua Beach Master Plan at 7 tonight at the Kailua Recreation Center multipurpose meeting room.
contact Mark Davis