Four years after it was shuttered, the restroom facility at Maunalua Bay Beach Park was finally reopened.
Opening a comfort station is normally not a big deal, but this one drew a crowd, including Mayor Kirk Caldwell, members of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood board, and the Hui Nalu Canoe Club.
The restrooms had been closed since February 2010 because of an outdated cesspool system.
"Basically everything went out into the ocean," said Michele Nekota, director designate for the city's Parks and Recreation Department. "Now the sewer system is like how we have in our house today, and so it doesn't go out into the ocean, thank goodness. So it's a good thing."
But the work had several delays, partially because it involved a lot of players, as well as the nearby busy Kalanianaole Highway.
"We had to pull a sewer line underneath the road, and so it was state property as well as Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools) property," said Nekota.
There were also issues with the facility itself.
"We found that when we actually went inside the bathroom to connect the new pipe with the old pipe, it was corroded and couldn't be hooked up. It would break apart," said Caldwell. "So we had to cut back further in to the original pipe."
According to Caldwell, that put the project over budget.
"It's about a $400,000 project, and we have two change orders for about $15,000," he said. "So if you look at it percentage-wise, they're not huge increases in terms of what we anticipated."
Now that the restrooms are open, the Hui Nalu Canoe Club, which uses Maunalua Bay, will be keeping a close on it to fight against vandalism and to help keep it clean.
"It's just a matter of the awareness of the club members to know that it's okay to feel like this is a part of our community and that you're going to take care of it, just as you would your own home," said the canoe club's Carol Jaxon.
Only one part of the project remains uncompleted. Orange fencing surrounds the lawn adjacent to the restrooms, projected newly-planted grass over the new sewer line. Nekota said the fence should come down in about two months.
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