Wetlands area the wrong place for new development

Please consider these concerns about the Maui Medical Plaza planned to be built in the Kanaha wetlands.

In an era when wetland areas should be restored and preserved, why are we allowing a development project in this area? Scientific studies show wetlands are a valuable resource that should be preserved, not destroyed. Wetlands provide irreplaceable habitat for wild animals, are a natural water filter system cleaning runoff waters, therefore protecting reefs, and protect inland areas from flooding. Why would anyone want to fill, pave, and build on a jurisdictional wetland when we know that goes against any logic?

Considering the amount of commercial spaces that are vacant in Kahului, this project should occur in another location, or the business should rent and fill one of the many large buildings currently completely empty. Another question to ask is why would anyone want to build this proposed building in a tsunami zone? The logical response should be that this location is not suitable for any building, let alone a six-story mega building.

The extension of the SMA permit for the Maui Medical Plaza should go before the whole planning commission. Just one person alone, the planning director, should not decide the fate of our irreplaceable wetlands. Additional public testimony should be a part of the decision-making process due to the high value of retaining wetlands. Build this building on dry land somewhere else, where its six-story height will blend in, and then restore these wetlands and leave them wet, forever.

Richard St. Gaudens