HILO — Mayor Harry Kim said Friday that he hopes to have a second meeting with Hawaiian community leaders regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope by the end of next week.
Kim, who last month was assigned by Gov. David Ige the task of reaching common ground between the state and TMT opponents, said he has not yet had a follow-up to a meeting he had July 26 with Hawaiian leaders from throughout the state.
Kim said he has not found time to schedule such a meeting this week, but said he hopes to meet again sometime next week.
“I have had meetings, lots of meetings, but not with that group,” the mayor said.
Previously, Kim said he also hopes to meet with representatives of the TMT project as part of his assignment by the governor.
On Friday, Kim reaffirmed that he still intends to have that meeting, but added it won’t happen until after his second meeting with members of the Hawaiian community.
Gordon Squires, vice president of external affairs for TMT International, said the project has had many conversations with Kim in the past.
“We’re standing by and supporting his efforts,” Squires said. “We understand that he has to take his time.”
Meanwhile, Kim said he has met with TMT opponents “for several years” to get their perspectives, although he added that he also has had several conversations, in person and by telephone, with protest leaders since protests on Maunakea Access Road began July 15.
“If I look at the ultimate end, the final goal, I wouldn’t say we could move forward yet,” Kim said. “We still have a long ways to go before we can reach an agreement.”
However, Kim said everyone is already in agreement that the TMT issue must not be allowed to “polarize” Hawaii Island any further than it already has.
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