(BIVN) – A gathering in Hilo on Friday morning concerning a commercial spaceport proposal for East Hawaiʻi stirred emotions inside the meeting and out.
Terri Napeahi, a Keaukaha Action Network organizer, joined a group of sign waving residents in the parking lot of the Panaʻewa Gym, as representatives from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation met with area-residents inside the building. The company wants to develop a Pacific Spaceport Complex-Hawaii on W.H. Shipman land between Haʻena Beach and Pāpaʻi Bay.
“I’m an ag farmer. I live there, and I’m concerned,” said Napheahi, who took issue with Friday’s meeting.
“This meeting was put together as a private meeting. It was not a public meeting,” Napeahi said. “I found out that the letter was only inviting [Hawaiian Home Lands] leaders, Shipman, and our politicians. Our Hawaiian community was not invited. I questioned that, and then they opened it up to the Panaʻewa and Keaukaha Farmers Association.”
“It is unethical to hold a private meeting before a public meeting,” Napeahi said. “What do they need to know about rockets? I lived next to an airport all my life, by ‘touch and go.’ You are going to do another impact on our Hawaiian families?”
Napeahi, who entered the building for only a few short moments to deride the meeting, said the subject of the spaceport “is going to be an issue for the whole entire island, not just us.”
A public informational meeting regarding the proposal is planned for February 6, at a location to be determined.