An organization of Carolinian residents are opposing a House local bill pending in the CNMI Legislature that would change the zoning classification of areas encompassing Sugar Dock and Laly 4 from village-commercial and village-residential into a tourist resort.
The Refaluwasch Association, along with residents of Chalan Kanoa, are opposing the passage of House Local Bill 21-42. Refaluwasch Association vice president Juan Tenorio said that several families and other residents of Chalan Kanoa gathered Monday to come up with a plan to oppose the rezoning attempt. He said that Refaluwasch Association chair Ambrosio Ogumoro had emphasized the need to oppose the bill during the association’s officers and board director meeting.
One of the association’s member, Lino Olopai, said, “We request if those [areas] can be exempted from the law and I would appreciate it if our leadership would look into that and give us the exemption.”
Olopai pointed out the area’s importance to the community. “This area is Laly 4. This is where we conduct our meetings, other ceremonial events, teaching education to the kids, practice dancing and music, and [where] elders share stories in this area.”
“This area has a very high historical and cultural value to the local community. Our livelihood is by the water and we want make sure that our culture is also kept intact,” he added. “I am deeply concerned with this idea of turning this into a tourist resort because leaders can’t take care of other areas like Mariana Resort and Imperial Pacific [Resort]. Why keep adding and yet that small area cannot be taken care of?” (Chevy Alipio)