HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than a year ago, HNN reported on the fights, filth and lewdness happening beneath the city’s Waikiki pavilions — right next to Hawaii’s most iconic beach.
During that time, there’s been a lot of talk from officials about how the city plans to tackle the issues there. But the lack of action is causing a lot of frustration.
For Wesley and Nicole Lezard, their Hawaiian getaway has been all they hoped it would be.
“Everything was really, really nice,” said Nicole Lezard.
Well, almost everything.
The couple’s only complaint has to do with the pavilions. They said they didn’t seem safe and that’s only part of the problem.
“They smell like marijuana and pee,” said Wesley Lezard.
Nicole Lezard added, “I didn’t even want to sit there the other night on the beach. It just had a real bad odor. It smelled like feces and body odor.”
What was intended to be a shady place to enjoy the view has become a permanent shelter for a combative group of squatters.
Fights are common. So is drug use and lewd acts. Many take place in broad daylight.
“We’ve had more and more complaints from our residents,” said Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chairman Robert Finley. “As they go by the pavilions they’re harassed, they’re threatened, they’re panhandled.”
Over the past year, the city has discussed multiple ideas in an attempt to address the problem ― things like removing the benches and tables or installing lockers for beachgoers.
The city announced its most recent idea in February, saying it wants to place concessions in each of the pavilions.
When HNN asked for an update, a spokesperson for Mayor Kirk Caldwell declined an interview request saying, the city is “in the midst of developing the concessionaire requirements.”
Asked via email how long that’s going to take, the city didn’t respond.
The Lezards, meanwhile, called the situation “unacceptable.”
“It should be more safe," Nicole Lezard said.
Added Finley: “It’s very frustrating. In other words, we got another 10 years before they decide what to do.”