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Hawai'i Free Press

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Thursday, September 2, 2021
Bums to be Swept Out After Attack on Water Department Workers
By News Release @ 10:54 PM :: 1144 Views :: Maui County, Homelessness

Amala Place clean-up to begin this month

News Release from County of Maui, Sept 1, 2021

Today the County of Maui and the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources announced plans for a comprehensive clean-up of public lands surrounding the Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Treatment Plant. The joint effort comes in response to concerns about public health and safety on Amala Place and long-planned improvements to the sanctuary.

No trespassing signs are being installed both mauka and makai of Amala Place. Maui County has been working with social workers and service providers to assist 53 individuals living in the homeless encampment in the area. The County is in the process of making emergency shelter resources available for each individual or household, as well as services to suit their situation.

“Caring for people comes first,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “It’s not compassionate to enable people to continue living without basic sanitation. Mounds of rubbish, human waste and used syringes surround many of the tents and temporary structures in the area. With the risk of flooding during the upcoming rainy season, now is the time for these folks to move into emergency shelters. Once the unsheltered residents have settled into new accommodations, we will start the clean-up and DLNR will begin the needed sanctuary improvements.”

"Kanaha Pond, adjacent to Amala Place, is an invaluable resource for the people of Maui and is one of the most important breeding sites for numerous species of endangered waterbirds. It is not only a State Wildlife Sanctuary but was designated 70-years ago as a National Natural Landmark,” said Scott Fretz, Maui Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “It is totally inappropriate for this special place to be impacted by the dumping of rubbish and human waste. Protective fencing that protects the endangered wildlife has repeatedly been damaged. Our staff has been harassed and threatened in the course of doing their jobs and have had to clean up syringes and other hazardous waste in the sanctuary."

Eric Nakagawa, director of County of Maui Department of Environmental Management, has encountered similar problems, saying: "Our employees need to get safely in and out of the Kahului wastewater treatment plant on Amala Place to do their jobs and possibly prevent a sewage spill into the ocean in an emergency that can happen any time, day or night. In recent weeks, our staff has reported individuals blocking the roadway entrance to the plant, starting verbal arguments and jumping on a truck in at least one instance in which police were called."

Additional no trespassing signage will be installed throughout early September to prepare for area clean-up. Work on the Kahana Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is scheduled to commence in late September. 

   *   *   *   *   * 

Amala Place gate to Kanaha Beach Park to be locked for clean-up project

News Release from County of Maui, Sept 17, 2021

The County of Maui will lock the Amala Place gate entrance to Kanaha Beach Park at closing on Sunday, Sept. 19, through 7 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. The temporary closure is needed to safeguard public safety during the area’s planned clean-up that will require heavy equipment to remove derelict vehicles and solid waste from the area.  

The Maui Police Department will close Amala Place to through traffic near the Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Treatment Facility. Kanaha Beach Park will remain open and accessible via Koeheke Street, which becomes Ka’a Street, near the old rental car area by the airport. 

Earlier this month, no trespassing signs were installed both mauka and makai of Amala Place to prepare for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource’s long-planned restoration of the 70-year old sanctuary. The County of Maui must also clear the area fronting the wastewater treatment facility for environmental protection. 

The County of Maui has been working with social workers and service providers to assist those living in the area’s homeless encampment. To date, 25 individuals have moved into shelters and one has moved into permanent housing. Thirteen have moved out of the area and 12 are currently considering offers for shelter and services. Maui Police Department officers have served the remaining 14 individuals with notices to vacate.

“I want to thank the social services agencies and their caring staff members who have been working closely with area residents to help them get into suitable shelter before rainy season begins. Shelter is available for those who need additional time to make relocation plans,” explained Mayor Michael Victorino. “We’ve made all the necessary provisions to offer them a safe place with proper sanitation facilities. It’s their choice to accept these services or not, but remaining in the existing encampment is not an option because it is unsafe and it has become a public health hazard.”

During the week of September 20-24, the Hawaii DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife will join Maui County’s Department of Environmental Management, Department of Public Works and Maui Police Department officers to restore the area.

KITV: Crews on Maui county to clean-up Amala Place 

MN: Cleanup on Amala Place to begin this month  

MN: Photos-- Homeless in Kanaha line the streets

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