Board of Land and Natural Resources votes to demolish favorite swim spot amid safety concerns
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A popular but dangerous swim spot will be gone by late 2024 after the Board of Land and Natural Resources voted to approve a demolition project on Friday.
The protected swimming cove known as Cromwells is popular with people seeking both tranquility and thrills — from jumping off surrounding sea walls.
But after injuries, lawsuits, and three demolition proposals, a breakwater and other features that create the protected swimming area will be deconstructed.
Originally constructed in 1938 as a boat basin for private vessels, the Diamond Head Breakwater joined the Koko Head Breakwater to create the basin.
Though originally intended for boats, beachgoers have taken to the spot — for diving.
A sign in the area reads: “Two individuals have been paralyzed for life at this location. No diving.”
But beachgoers continue to dive.
Despite safety concerns, community members have rejected previous attempts to remove the breakwater.
In 2018, property owner the Doris Duke Foundation petitioned the state for a permit to remove the breakwater after injured swimmers decided to sue.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources did not give the go-ahead for the demolition proposal.
The Doris Duke Foundation subsequently ceded the Diamond Head Breakwater to the state Land Department.
The Doris Duke Foundation, coastal regulators, and the state Land Department successfully brought the proposal to the board Friday.
Critics of the plan say removal of the breakwater could actually make the area more dangerous.
Kahala resident William Saunders wants the breakwater preserved, explaining that its removal will “destroy the swim basin.”
“With the breakwater taken down to near sea level, the waves will overtop it and create basically a washing machine or toilet bowl in here and smash people up against the rocks,” said Saunders.
The demolition measure passed with six yes votes and one abstention.
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