Work begins on Waikiki Natatorium

Published: Oct. 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:18 PM HST
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Colin Lam
Colin Lam
Tuffy Medeiros
Tuffy Medeiros

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Buoys went up this morning to keep swimmers at bay while city crews remove hazardous pieces of the Natatorium's aging sea wall.

"We are trying to mitigate that problem and going in and chipping that concrete off so it doesn't fall on swimmer who might come too close to the Natatorium," said Colin Lam, Director, Dept. of Design & Construction.

Over the next five days crews will work outside the wall in floating rafts with chisels and crow bars.

But what comes down during this nearly 80-thousand dollar job won't go back up.

"We won't be doing any replacement we're just trying to take away any health and safety hazard," said Lam.

Today's work has reopened the debate over what to do with the historic World War One memorial.

"I know as a surfer this is something that I would like to see preserved and something done positive with, says Colin Hiestand who supports preservation.

Dan Nakamura agrees, "At least keep that tower there, that's very significant 1820 The rest make like an open beach you know."

So far the City has spent more than 4 and a half million dollars on the landmark.

In 1999 it finished renovating the bleachers and bathrooms; in 2003 it put in an office for Waikiki lifeguards.

Now an environmental impact statement is underway. Mayor Carlisle wants to see that first before deciding on his next step.

Some complain the natatorium needs better care. There's mold in the bathroom, cracked walls and vandals and homeless have left their mark.

The natatorium certainly left its mark on Tuffy Medeiros who told his grandson about its heyday, "To put back the old system. No. It would be too much liability and danger to people. 3433. but to refurbish it. Yes, Definitely."

In the meantime, time and Mother Nature are determining what's happening to the Natatorium.

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