In an effort to address community concerns over health and safety concerns of pesticides, I recently hosted a series of town hall meetings with officials from the Departments of Agriculture and Health. The meetings gave residents an opportunity to ask questions about pesticide regulation, oversight and potential hazards from Scott Enright, the Chair of the Dept. of Agriculture (DoA), Tom Matsuda, the head of DoA Pesticide Branch, and Fenix Grange, the Dept. of Health’s Supervisor of Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response.
In addition to the questions and answers addressed regarding pesticides, our town hall meetings at Ahuimanu, Waialua and Hauula Elementary Schools featured updates to legislation regarding cesspool upgrades and storm water runoff.
Beginning in 2016, properties within 200 feet of the ocean, streams and above aquifers may qualify owners for a $10,000 tax credit to upgrade cesspools to a higher level of sewage treatment. Thanks to Sina Pruder, Mark Tomomitsu and Darryl Lum from the Dept. of Health’s Wastewater and Clean Water Branches for attending and providing their expertise.
Surfrider Foundation representatives Stuart Coleman and Rafael Bergstrom presented information on the significant amount of pollution from storm water runoff that enters our waterways and fouls our near shore waters. All homeowners should be aware of the amount of soaps, pesticides, oils, paints and other pollutants that run off their home driveways. Surfrider has a program called Ocean Friendly Gardens that helps homeowners effectively reduce their polluting runoff.
The Waialua Elementary School cafeteria was full with about 120 community members for the September 29th meeting, which will be broadcast on Olelo and available online in the near future. Due to the high turnout and interest, a second Waialua Elementary School Pesticide Meeting will be held on November 10th, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Haleiwa Harbor Users have voiced concerns about harbor management changes and policies implemented in recent months. Haleiwa Harbor presently has no harbor agent, the pier repairs have taken longer than expected, parking restrictions have been enforced, and other concerns about increasing commercial activity and slip vacancies have been brought to my attention.
Top level representatives of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation have accepted my invitation to come out to meet our Haleiwa Harbor Users and address their concerns at a special meeting on October 15th, beginning at 6 p.m., at Waialua Elementary School. It is hoped that any existing misunderstandings can be cleared up, that policy and operational changes can be explained, that the users will be able to offer suggestions and ask questions, and that the DOBOR officials can help resolve ongoing issues.