Some want parts of Windward Oahu to break away from the City and County of Honolulu
Critics say splitting the counties could bring infrastructure problems.
Some members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board want parts of Windward Oahu to break away from the City and County of Honolulu. They want boundary lines from Waimanalo to Kahaluu to be called Koolaupoko.
Critics say splitting the counties could bring infrastructure problems and city services like police, fire-fighters and The Bus would need to be re-developed. The inspiration of the proposal? They say the city isn't treating Windward Oahu like the central areas. Most recently, community outcry over the development of Waimanalo Bay Beach Park.
"This side of the island is not getting the answers that they want. The community is not being supported," Gary Weller, Kailua neighborhood board member, said.
"We just feel one size doesn’t fit all. We want to explore the possibility of having our own county," Matt Darnell, Kailua neighborhood board member, said.
The men say their plan is not a transition that will happen overnight, but over 10 years.
"If we were our own county on this side of the island. I think the community pressure would be great on that county government to make sure all these things are taken care of," Weller said.
Darnell recognizes potential challenges with finding new personnel to run the proposed county. He says he hopes it will hire people from Honolulu. But not everyone is excited about the idea.
"Being a Hawaiian, land is very important and when people come over here and give their own two cents of what the land should be like. To me, I feel like that’s kinda crossing the line, out of place," Kapena Keolanui, Windward Oahu resident, said.
This is not the first proposal to break up Windward Oahu from Honolulu. A newspaper article in 1970 shows then State Representative Ernest Heen called for a study for similar reasons.
A spokesman for Mayor Kirk Caldwell is also opposed to the idea. He said in a statement:
"We are one island of roughly 600 square miles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the most isolated landmass on the entire planet. The administration would not support creating an 'us versus them' situation with the creation of a separate county government. We all need to work together to make Oahu more sustainable and resilient, and the administration works extremely hard toward this goal each and every day."