Salt Pond conditions protested

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A mirror that was broken waits to be replaced in the Men’s bathroom in the main pavilion at the Salt Pond Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Damage to the wall of the Men’s bathroom in the main pavilion at Salt Pond Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A cordoned off section of Salt Pond Beach Park near the bathrooms that has also been cordoned off and porta potties placed.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The cordoned off bathrooms on the west end of the Salt Pond Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Tim Liberto and Sam of Kalaheo enjoy Salt Pond Park in the parking lot near the bathrooms that have been roped off for a long time. The pair spend time in the parking lot because dogs aren’t allowed in the park.

HANAPEPE — Some members of the Westside Watershed Council and concerned citizens say a Westside beach park that’s sacred to them is being neglected and they are calling for immediate repairs.

A letter to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. dated July 9 along with a petition signed by over 100 residents and photos of the Salt Pond Park states that those who frequent the park have tried to bring attention to the issue through multiple platforms for many years, but their concerns have been ignored.

“The Salt Pond Park that hundreds of people use is a disgrace and it has been so for many years and your government is unwilling or unable to fix the problems,” the letter states. “

Timothy Oga of Hanapepe, who is listed as the contact person on the letter, said Monday the restrooms and the showers at the park have been neglected for about a year. He said the park is heavily used and there’s only one working bathroom and some portable bathrooms.

He said there are other problems. Photos attached with the petition show faded paint on picnic tables, dirty walls and debris.

“A lot of people go down there and they have to walk to the other bathroom they don’t want to use the portable toilets because they’re all messed up, they have to walk from the one end to the other end just to use the restroom,” he said.

Rhoda Libre, executive director of the Westside Watershed, agreed.

“The bathrooms have been in disrepair for a long time. They’ve had sewage spills that have impacted the integrity of the soil and the sand is compromised. People have gotten sick from that it seems the county hasn’t done their due diligence in 10 to 12 years,” she said.

The Westside Watershed Council has been complaining about the problem for years, she said. The group was working on gaining a stewardship with the county but in November, they were denied their request, Libre said.

“It’s a healing area, but they managed to kill all the healing herbs. The salt itself is dirty, everything is dirty, it all stems from the park,” she said.

Parks and Recreation Director Lenny Rapozo said the county is planning improvements to begin within the next year, but due to the area it’s going to take some time to obtain the proper permits. Those improvements include improving the wastewater system, renovating the comfort station fixtures and painting.

During heavy rains earlier this year, Rapozo said the leach field at the western end comfort station was saturated, which is why the county closed that pavilion.

The process to certify the shoreline takes about one year and drawings will need to be completed for the work to be done, he said.

In the meantime, the Department of Parks and Recreation is continuing to check the condition of the leach field. Because of this, the comfort station cannot be opened.

“Public Works is currently working on bringing in a pipe that would take all the effluent water from Salt Pond Park to a sewer plant in Eleele,” he said.

“This is the long-term solution for this facility. The big opening was done and the bids received were higher than anticipated. A money bill has been drafted by the Department of Public Works and sent to Council for an additional $525,000 to complete the project,” he said.

The Westside Watershed has been fighting this for a long time, Libre said.

“It’s a typical power struggle again and that’s the reason for it and for them to solve the problem, they’re trying to use politics,” she said.

In the letter, the county is accused of trying to make the area less attractive for visitors, “because if more of them come more may mingle with us the local people and they may find out the truth about the Hawaiians and about how things are going on here on Kauai.”

The petition states they are “protesting this intentional segregation of local people from the visitors.”

It goes on to say since their protests have been ignored, “we are taking things into our own hand. This means that we will create a welcome board plus posters with a copy of this letter and the attached pictures, plus with the picture and phone number of the Director of Parks and Recreation on it to let the visitors know the truth about the neglected condition of our park.”

The Kanaka Maoli want to exercise their rights to take care of their traditional lands.

The situation at the Salt Ponds is alarming, she said.

“We’re continuing to fight,” Libre said.

•••

Bethany Freudenthal, Courts, Crime and County reporter, 652-7891, bfreudenthal@thegardenisland.com

13 Comments
  1. Lucy Allan July 17, 2018 5:50 am Reply

    I agree, the restrooms are a disgrace.


  2. jake July 17, 2018 6:51 am Reply

    Let’s not forget that it’s locals who are tearing that beach apart, and it’s locals themselves who are “islolating” themselves from visitors in that regard. Visitors don’t spend thousands of dollars to visit Hawaii just so they can tear restrooms apart, pick drunken fights with campers, and spray graffiti all over the place. Check those out of control kids you keep having, and the alcoholic bullies who abandon them. There’s your “salt pond problem.” And with the ground water quality around that beach, there’s no way anyone can safely consume the salt that’s harvested from the beds nearby. It’s totally contaminated.


    1. numilalocal July 17, 2018 1:58 pm Reply

      While some local folks might be vandalizing stuff, I’d venture to guess that transients for elsewhere are culprits too. We criminalize addiction and mental illness and until we become more compassionate, we’re going to have people who cannot make good decisions.


  3. Jake July 17, 2018 8:16 am Reply

    “In the letter, the county is accused of trying to make the area less attractive for visitors, “because if more of them come more may mingle with us the local people and they may find out the truth about the Hawaiians and about how things are going on here on Kauai.””

    Ah, the visitors and tourists find ALL the beach bathrooms reprehensible. I’m still trying to figure out where the TAT money priorities are going. EVERY visitor hits the beach, yet this this issues has been going on for 30 years.

    The County Government has seen this train wreck coming for years. Bathrooms on the beach, with leech fields/cesspools, are a nightmare waiting to happen. Piping to a sewage treatment plant/area is the only correct way to do it. Now it is going to cost millions to correct them all, …..and wait for it…….permits on this island move slower than a sloth.

    Really like the “truth about the Hawaiians and about how things are going on here on Kauai”……..

    Yes, it’s 2018, everyone is a victim I guess. Stop the madness. You live in paradise regardless of your perception.


  4. RG DeSoto July 17, 2018 8:39 am Reply

    Lenny Rapozo for mayor….
    RG DeSoto


  5. Kona Kaniaulono July 17, 2018 8:47 am Reply

    C’mon Lenny Rapozo, get it done! this has been going on for years! It should have been fixed 5 years ago!!

    I will not vote for you. You don’t have the West Side interests at heart!


  6. manongindashadow July 17, 2018 9:01 am Reply

    Mayor Carvalho don’t have the time to think about improving Kauai’s need. He is busy “thinking big!”


  7. I saw a Vampire once July 17, 2018 9:08 am Reply

    Very dirty. When will they change the bathroom and clean it up? A lot of people on a Saturday noon. Who wants to do it?


  8. John Zwiebel July 17, 2018 12:32 pm Reply

    Oh com’on, it isn’t as if Salt Pond is being neglected more than any other park on Kauai. Have you ever been down to Hanamaulu Beach “Park”, more accurately described as “Hanamaulu Beach Cess Pool”. Such a beautiful location that stinks worse than a bathroom that hasn’t had the toilet flushed for a year. Worse than the hog lagoon at the pig farm down the road. Worse than, well, you get the picture.

    Have you been to Lydgate? The “sewage (non)processing” plant is located there. Hanamaulu has a way to go to smell that bad. You couldn’t pay me enough to swim at Lydgate.

    Maybe if you want something to change, you should consider taking a dump in front of the houses of those who own the island.


  9. numilalocal July 17, 2018 1:55 pm Reply

    Most county (and state) parks are neglected due, I think, to staffing shortages. Until we prioritize our own lands and waters, we’ll continue to deal with unkempt and unsanitary public areas. They’re overused and vandalized by sometimes ungrateful and disrespectful people.


  10. E10 July 17, 2018 8:55 pm Reply

    This problem is not isolated to Salt Pond. Kekaha’s MacArthur Park’s bathrooms, port-a-potties, are so disgusting and appear to be unmaintained. No toilet paper, rarely serviced (if ever), broken locks. So, people just piss everywhere else but in the toilet. It would be soooo nice to see this situation improved.


  11. Howard Mahugh July 18, 2018 7:05 am Reply

    For the issuance of permits to take a year is absurd. Drain the swamp. Get something done. Start today. Bureaucracies should be eliminated, especially when they get in the way of progress.


  12. Anderson July 19, 2018 6:25 am Reply

    Someone call Ranger Ray over there to fix the bathrooms! That guy hates doing his job.. or making any efforts, really ALL OF THE RANGERS. I love watching them sit in their county cars for long time with AC running while “on the clock” nice job. I will never camp again on Kauai after multiple harrasment/sexual harassment encounters that I brought to the county rangers and they looked the other way shrugging their shoulders. One man kept following me back to my tent and when i told 3 different rangers 1 responded with “there’s a payphone across the way if you’re ever in danger” uhh thanks lady but I it’s the year of the cell phone sooo… then she told me to lock my tent!!! Haha. Locking thin plastic, where do they find these people to hire?! 2nd response from male ranger: The guy that was harassing me was in jail for violently attacking another person and was later released. He told me not to worry that he wasn’t dangerous, he was released cos it was found he was drunk and self defense. So a mentally unstable and violent man living in the bushes at anini is ok with everyone? Hes not the only one living in the bush…Keep the crazies out! Every site needs a guardian, camp host who is there to make sure things stay CLEAN and SAFE… esp for women. This is a standard for campgrounds everywhere, why is hawaii so behind on safety, cleanliness and professionalism? Please do something!


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