WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This year's season for the Waialua High School swim team could be in jeopardy.
That's because the lights at the Waialua District Park pool were among those that were removed in March of last year because of severe corrosion. The 30-member team used the pool for practices during the late afternoon and evening.
"Our high school season starts at the end of next month," said longtime swim coach Bob Atwood. "And I've got seniors that are in convention for swim scholars. And that's really going to hurt them."
The award-winning team would use the pool after other swim programs were done.
"The idea with the overhead lights is that you've got to see the bottom of the pool. And if you cannot, in theory there could be some victim down there, so they shut us down," said Atwood.
The team had practiced in the pool at the YMCA's Camp Erdman in Mokuleia last season, but it's not available this year.
"They were very generous. They allowed us to train there last year, but this year they're not allowing that. So we're back with no pool to train in whatsoever."
Community members are already upset that the lights have been gone from the park for so long, but the city says it's not a quick fix.
"The Department of Design and Construction is in the process of securing a design consultant for what is anticipated to be a multi-million dollar project to replace the lighting at Waialua District Park," city Design and Construction director Robert Kroning said in a statement. "We'll have a more definite timeline once work begins with the consultant, but preliminary estimates indicate that the project should be finished within a couple of years."
Some impatient residents have started a petition in an effort to get the city to speed up the process.
"The neighborhood board is going to carry it down and hand it straight to the mayor and say that this is really what we want here," said Ken Capes, who had organized nighttime soccer matches until the lights were taken down. "This is a central community hub."
In the meantime, Atwood said the swim team is looking for another pool to practice in.
"Whether we'll have a high school swim team is still very much up in the air."