Before I say anything else, I must first say that this development makes me extrememly sad.
I have recently come across the web site for the new housing development at Ukumehame (between Lahaina and the Pali on the island of Maui). Growing up, I spent a lot of time camping out at Ukumehame, fishing with bamboo poles and torching at night on the reef. I even practiced driving on the short stretch of dirt road from our campsite to the highway.
Sure, the fact that a place from my childhood is being swallowed by development hurts, but what really cuts in deep is that there is no intention what so ever that any locals will be living in this sacred place. Though the developers claim that Ukumehame will be, “once more available for residents,” the prime demographic for these lots are clearly rich, non residents as is evidenced in its attempts to entice buyers “to own a piece of Maui splendor” and the images of attractive white families shown doing tourist activities.
Furthermore, the developers insist that their buyers’ “can rest assured that [their] privacy and views will be protected forever.” What are they exactly being protected from? The ‘intrusive’ local perhaps? Is this to be taken as a veiled way of expressing the exclucivity of this new neighborhood and buyers are really being told to rest assured that no one with a $30,000 income or car older than 2 years will be allowed into their safe haven?
Though I should not be so surprised. Truly, I am foolish to think that any new development could possibly be for anyone who already lives in the islands. Before Ukumehame, it was Launiopoko. Sure, we started to get a subdivision built on the Kaanapali side of Wahikuli subdivsion (near the Post Office) but it wasn’t thought out well enough and has gone years with only streets and sewers but not a single foundation. And then, there was the expansion of Kilauea Mauka to the Launiopoko side of Lahainaluna Road (just under the high school), but it was only to give families a place to go to after they were evicted from their homes on the other side of the road to make room for a highway that has been decades in the waiting.
Well at least the developers claim that the new development will pay, “tribute to the people who lived and worked on this beautiful land.” How this new development will pay tribute, they don’t exactly say. But what is clear, is that if you’re going to be paying tribute at Ukumehame, you going to be paying in the millions.