(BIVN) – Thirty Meter Telescope opponents have agreed to move the kūpuna tent to the side and allow full public access on the Mauna Kea Access Road, at least for the next two months, as the planned observatory project has no immediate plans to start construction on the mountain.
On Thursday, an agreement was reached between the office of Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim and the kiaʻi who are trying to stop the TMT project by holding space on the Mauna Kea Access Road.
It was a celebratory atmosphere inside the kūpuna tent on Thursday afternoon, as county officials joined the kiaʻi to work out the details of the move. The various tents were still on the access road, and traffic was going around the tent on the gravel pathway on the west-side. Vehicles were going back and forth on the road.
“I declare this a victory on our part,” said Dr. Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, a spokesperson for the kūpuna on Maunakea. “A victory because this is an opportunity for us in this Lono season… to do what our ancestors did. This is the time for negotiation, for diplomacy, for reassessment, to live in our environment the way that our environment is telling us to live.”
After announcing that an agreement was reached, the office of Mayor Kim released the letter to the public.
Please review the following offer being made to the Maunakea Protectors to open the Maunakea Access Road.
The TMT Project has informed State officials and Mayor Kim that there will be no attempt to deliver construction equipment to the Maunakea site anytime soon. I, Mayor Kim give you my personal assurances that no attempt will be made to move TMT construction equipment up the mountain for a minimum of two months. During this time,at least until the end of February 2020, the protectors are requested to move the Kupuna tent which is currently on the roadway to the side of the road. This will provide open access to the general public to drive up the road to the Maunakea Visitor Center or to the summit region. This clearance of the roadway will help ensure the safety of visitors and protectors.
During this time, State and County agencies and law enforcement will agree to stand down. There will be no attempt by State of Hawaiʻi law enforcement agencies or Hawaiʻi County Police Department to remove the protectors’ encampment from the sides of Maunakea Access Road or from Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu.
It is hoped that during this peaceful time, communication between government officials, the astronomy community, community leaders and protectors will continue. I, Mayor Kim will continue to work with TMT to extend the two-month stand-down period if necessary.
Please respond to this offer as soon as possible.