HAWAII KAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Restroom repairs at a popular Hawaii Kai park will take nearly two years to complete. The public bathroom at Maunalua Bay Beach Park has been closed for about 10 months. According to the city, the restroom will likely re-open in January 2013.
Chris Smith paddles out four to five times a week with the Hui Nalu Canoe Club. When nature calls, he can't use the public restroom.
"It's a problem. Most of the club members know so they're usually ready when they get here, but I feel sorry for the tourists that come," said Smith.
The city closed the bathroom in February because of a federal mandate to close the outdated cesspool system. The city is paying $250 dollars a month for two portable toilets in the parking lot. There is no city sewer system in the area, so the plan is to connect to a private one that ultimately ties into Hawaii American Water. The work will be done underground to avoid tearing up the roadway.
"We're gonna go down Kalanianaole Highway, go up Keahole, and then tie into a private manhole," explained Lori Kahikina, deputy director of the Department of Design and Construction.
"Maunalua Bay hosts visitors and residents alike in the commercial aspect of jet skiing, parasailing, and so forth, so it's been rather embarrassing," said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Elizabeth Reilly.
Reilly has been tracking the problem through the neighborhood board. She is also part of the group that puts on the July 4 fireworks show at Maunalua Bay. Organizers had to pay for extra portable toilets this year. They'll have to do that again for the next Independence Day.
"We've already been told by the city that don't anticipate having the restroom up and running. We're really disappointed about that because if we can do what we did in preparing for APEC, we believe there is a way. We just have to have the willingness and we have to prioritize it," said Reilly.
"We have to coordinate with the private systems, obtain all of their approvals to tie in, make sure that their system can handle the flows. So our designer is working on that right now," said Kahikina.
"It would be nice to have it done," said paddler Phil McCaffray. "It's just a little inconvenience. Great place to be, though."