A gate blocking beach access in Portlock is still up, despite legal efforts to take it down

Councilman and Mayor point fingers as condemnation process continues

Beach access battle in Portlock

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The gate at the end of the Portlock walkway is still closed and locked even though its been about a year since Honolulu city leaders approved a resolution to condemn the small, paved section which would force the nearby property owner to remove the chain link fence.

Area councilman, Trevor Ozawa, is now accusing Mayor Kirk Caldwell of stalling, “We’re moving forward with a complaint for condemnation on our own and we’ve asked the corporation counsel to go ahead and just move forward with the exact same complaint,” Ozawa said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Caldwell disputes that, “That is so far from the truth here. We are talking about public policy, both in terms of access to our beaches, which is something I support and there is a procedure on condemnation we are following that procedure.”

Nearby property owner Bert Dohmen-Ramirez, through email and a Star Advertiser letter to the editor, has said in the past that he erected the fence for safety reasons, because of trespassers, vandals, and trash.

The gate prevents the public from using the small sandy beach and hampers access to a popular surf spot known as ‘seconds’.

Natalie Iwasa, a member of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, says residents just want the condemnation process to keep moving, “It’s unfortunate that politics have come into play on this and it’s both sides."

Iwasa says residents are looking forward to the next step, which would include public testimony, "They’ll want to be involved and make their opinions known.”

Tommy Waters, who is challenging Trevor Ozawa for the East Honolulu council seat, agrees that both sides are to blame for the delays, “I think the mayor has dropped the ball, so has our council member, dropped the ball, and I think that they’re fighting against each other and not listening to what the people want."

Ozawa says he expects to hear back from the city attorneys on the status of the complaint for condemnation by the end of the week.

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