Save Sandy Beach, Ka Iwi Coalition recognized for preserving Oahu’s untouched places

Barb Forsyth

HONOLULU—The Save Sandy Beach/Ka Iwi Coalition began in the early 1980s as the Friends of Queen’s Beach to raise public awareness regarding the need for preservation of undeveloped areas and the power of grass-roots, community organizations to change and develop land use policies in the State of Hawaii.

The Honolulu League of Women Voters Education Fund Board has chosen the Save Sandy Beach/Ka Iwi Coalition as the recipient of the third Annual Astrid and Donald Monson Community Action Award.

Members of the Honolulu League of Women Voters, including Ursula Rutherford, Anna Hoover, and the late David Matthews were there supporting the Coalition’s cause in the front lines.

The grassroots efforts of the coalition helped to secure several undeveloped areas on Oahu from development. In 1998, the State of Hawaii purchased 305 acres at Queen’s Beach from the Bishop Estate. In 2002, the City and County of Honolulu purchased the Sandy Beach parcel, which had originally been earmarked for development.

The same grassroots movement has also been successful in its “No Cabins on Ka Iwi” campaign that ran from 2006 through 2009 and has resulted in a change to the Land Use Ordinance that now ensures public input. In 2010, the group worked with former-Gov. Linda Lingle, Abbey Mayer of the Office of Planning, and East Honolulu elected officials on the reclassification of the makai lands from urban to conservation designation.

The Honolulu League of Women Voters Astrid and Donald Monson Community Action Award will be presented to Curt Sanburn and Shirley Lum, who will represent the coalition’s present and past members.

The Astrid and Donald Monson Community Action Award is given annually to an organization or individual who has “made the year’s outstanding contributions toward or involving public interest planning, housing or environmental issues.”

Previous awardees are Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation and former director of The Sierra Club of Hawaii, and Donna Wong of The Hawaii’s Thousand Friends.

The Honolulu League of Women Voters was founded in 1948 by Marion and Allan Saunders with the understanding that democracy thrives when citizens play an active role in elections and government oversight.

The public is invited to a champagne brunch and awards ceremony at the Hale Koa Hotel on February 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reservations are $35 per person in advance and $40 at the door. Call the League of Women Voters at 531-7448 to make reservations.