The branch is now over four years old and has been quite active in affairs concerning matters of clean, green and beautiful in our most densely-populated area of the state, where we face some similar and some unique challenges with other branches.
As TOC’s most urban branch, some of the main issues we face, like traffic, noise pollution, light pollution, urban heat islands, and a large transient population are some of the issues we tackle and be try to be relevant in the middle of Hawaii’s economic engine of mass tourism. We named it “Greater Waikiki” to include the major parks on each side of Waikiki’s neighborhood board district boundaries to include Kapiolani Park and Ala Moana Park and the Ala Wai Canal. We have had major things to say about developments in these areas and happy to report that The Outdoor Circle name is still well-respected and the go-to resource for matters involving quality of life and preservation of beauty.
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, encouraging development of our new Trees and Livability Committee and support for 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 and we have advocated to keep the park space open. We have also been strong proponents of a comprehensive EIS and community input on the proposed Ala Wai Watershed plans and were instrumental in holding an excellent public community forum in November 2019 on the issue. Stay tuned for more on this.
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. And let's not forget sustainable and livable!
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.