Group raises concerns over Hanauma Bay money

Published: Dec. 1, 2014 at 11:06 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2014 at 10:44 AM HST
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Bob Kern
Bob Kern
Randall Harakal
Randall Harakal

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Friends of Hanauma Bay say the City has been mismanaging the nature preserve for years and they want the facility's budget separated from the general fund.

Hanauma Bay brings in about $6 million a year. Its money that is supposed to stay here to maintain the facility, but the Friends of Hanauma Bay organization says that's not happening.

Non-residents pay $7.50 to enter the preserve raising millions of dollars. The non-profit organization Friends of Hanauma Bay is watching out for the fund claiming the city is not.

"This place was made for education. That's the whole purpose of the $13 million to make the education center and it's just been allowed to deteriorate," said Bob Kern, Friends of Hanauma Bay.

The group claims $323,000 worth of labor hours that was supposed to be spent fixing up the Bay was spent at other nearby beach parks. It also says resources and even supplies like toilet paper is sent to other areas instead of staying at Hanauma Bay.

"I think there is just an attitude about this place that needs to be changed on the part of the people in the City. It needs to be respected and it needs to be treated as very different and very special which it is," said Kern.

They also say repairs go years before they're addressed.

"Where is the pride? The city shows, in my opinion, no sense of pride in this place allowing this to happen," said Kern.

"Pride is a catch word. It can be incendiary and it could be nice," said Randall Harakal, Honolulu Parks & Recreation Board Chair.

Harakal says he wasn't aware of the issues until the Friends raised the red flags. He says the City is investigating and plans to form a new advisory committee to improve operations and better manage the facility.

"It's concerning for everyone in the community. Everyone wants to know where is the money?" said Harakal. "Why can't be a regular schedule of progressive maintenance that keeps it at least where it should be?"

That's what the Friends of Hanauma Bay is asking too so that the preserve can start looking more pristine.

This subject will come up at the next Parks and Recreation Board meeting this Wednesday at 2:00 at Makiki District Park.

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