The branch is now over three years old and is still very much a “work in progress”.
As TOC’s most urban branch, it faces unique challenges trying to be relevant in the middle of Hawaii’s economic engine - mass tourism. We named it “Greater Waikiki” to include the major parks on each side of Waikiki’s neighborhood board district boundaries. It has proved difficult to attract volunteers to fill any Board positions, however, and so far we have not yet held a single public meeting of our members.
But our decision to build a robust and comprehensive branch website, www.waikikioutdoorcircle.org, has turned out to be more successful than we first expected. Thanks to Myles Ritchie’s indefatigable technical skills, the website now regularly attracts many hundreds of online visitors each month even if they don’t provide us with any feedback. Our website Newsletter “Waikiki Whisperer” was intended to be rather provocative and carries the warning that the stories represent only the opinions of the authors and not those of TOC’s Board. Our series “The Death of Darkness” on new LED lighting issues introduced new language on the topic that has, surprisingly, been copied all over the island. We believe it played an important role in getting the city and county authorities to modify their initial proposals on the replacement of 50,000 island streetlights with powerful new LEDs. We hope that our stories on issues relevant to Waikiki will function as a de facto “Think-Tank” for TOC.
We are delighted that our strategy to work closer with the Waikiki Neighborhood Board has resulted in two recent Resolutions of Support for our work. Last year they encouraged development of our new Trees and Livability Committee and in April we provided an update on our three tree planning and replacement projects as coalition partners with other organizations. Later this year we will provide them with an update on our work on Livability of Waikiki - focusing on the troublesome three issues - Street Noise, Excessive Illumination by new LED lighting/signage and Walkability allowing people to walk safely each day as their main way to stay healthy.
Finally, we have actively promoted the issue of Save The Ala Wai Promenade, the city’s most beautiful and peaceful canal side avenue of Exceptional Ficus trees. Located in the Ala Moana/Kakaako neighborhood board district, the project has now received resolutions of support from three adjacent boards and a commitment of city budget funds so far of $100,000. We are encouraged by the recent restoration of the irrigation system in Ala Moana Regional park that has transformed the health of the trees, shrubs and grass there.
As time progresses, we aim to build upon these promising accomplishments to attract new members and continue TOC’s goal of keeping Hawaii clean, green and beautiful.
The Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.