MAUNA KEA – Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope continues to be postponed as project managers try to find a way forward. For weeks, the opposing Ku Kia’i Mauna movement has maintained a vigil on Mauna Kea, blocking TMT crews from reaching the summit area where the $1.4 billion observatory is set to be built. Tensions remain high as everyone involved considers the end game.
Those on both sides of the issue are now engaging in some dialogue, and yet compromise does not appear to be on the horizon. A Thirty Meter Telescope representative recently said during an international radio interview that “it is absolutely certain the project will go ahead.”
Speaking to Richard Ewart for the ABC Radio Australia story Thirty Meter Telescope company says project will not be scrapped despite standstill, TMT’s Hawaii Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson said its a minority, not a large group in opposition to the project. “They’ve done a very good job of social media”, Dawson agreed.
Dawson was also asked if there will come a point where TMT will run out of patience?
We are being as patient as we can. If it comes to the fact that we go up and start construction while they’re still protesting, we would be sad to see that. But if thats what it has to be, then… as I’ve been hearing from many, many people on Hawaii Island they say ‘you just got to get started. You’ve got to move forward.’
We’ve already started our million dollars a year for education. We already started our workforce pipeline program. And we’ve already started our million dollars a year lease rent… People are looking for jobs, our union workers want to get back to work. They say ‘would you just get started, we want to work.’
So, at some point: yes, patience will run out and we’ll start. Sandra Dawson, Hawaii Community Affairs Manager for TMT
Dawson will be speaking in the second of four “Common Ground” events organized by the Hilo-Hamakua Community Development Corporation, starting in Laupahoehoe this coming Tuesday.
Kaho’okahi Kanuha, one of the primary spokespersons for the effort to stop the project, said they have been speaking directly with TMT board chairman Henry Yang.
We’re not there to make any sort of compromise or any negotiations at all, but just to reinforce the thought that there is only one outcome that will satisfy us and that would comply with the law. And that’s to totally cease and desist from this project.Kaho’okahi Kanuha
Kanuha said Yang told him that TMT is not considering another site, and that its Mauna Kea or nothing.
“So I guess the end game is nothing,” Kanuha said.
Big Island Video News will have a extended report featuring our recent interview with Kanuha on Monday.