The residents of Molokai refuse to sell the island to luxury real estate developers. In community planning meetings, they asked why would-be-newcomer rich people should be allowed to flush more water down their toilets in a day than the entire island has available. Good question that the developers couldn’t answer, along with many others, prompting developers to pull up stakes and seek more friendly development climes. Maui, afterall, is just across the channel and seems to have no problem permitting all kinds of luxury developments without regard to water or infrastructure issues (i.e., Wailea 670).
But now that the luxury home developers have left Molokai, the island’s only resort, the Molokai Ranch, which was banking on more affluent visitors, has decided to close its doors leaving about 120 island residents out of work. But good thing for Molokai that fiesty residents previously stared down and chased away cruise ships. By preventing the ships from entering the harbor, they prevented all that poop discharge from spoiling their reefs. So even if those 120 people on unemployment don’t make much cash, at least they have clean fish to eat. Not true for the other islands that allow cruise ships.
Still questions remain. What will happen to the more than 20,000 acres of scrub ranchland owned by the defunct Molokai Ranch? Will the ferry between Maui and Molokai also face closure? Why do the people of Molokai seem to care about their island more than money?
Whatever the answers, Molokai just got a lot more interesting.