WAILUA — A group of citizens took the first step toward rebuilding the Kamalani Pavilion since it burned to the ground on Feb. 8.
That rebuild was the common bond that drew about two dozen people to the Aloha Beach Resort Tuesday night, coordinated by Thomas Noyes of the Friends of Kamalani.
“I’m willing to stay on as the General Coordinator, but I’m going to need help,” Noyes told the group, an indication of the progress towards rebuilding the pavilion located near the Kamalani Bridge.
Included among the audience were people who participated in the original build as well as those who had only heard about the destruction of the pavilion.
That created a wide range of topics centering around the rebuild as residents spoke of their visions for the new structure at the gathering billed as a “brainstorming session” by Noyes.
One resident expressed an interest in creating a small, open-air theater while another suggested rebuilding using more modern building materials immune to destruction by fire.
Following the airing of the different points of view, the group agreed to taking the first step toward the rebuilding — the formation of a steering committee headed up by Noyes.
Doug Haigh of the county’s Public Works Department said his job will be to present the case for a settlement to insurance adjusters arriving next week. Until that meeting takes place, there is uncertainty on how the insurance company will settle, or how they will place value on the artwork that was destroyed in the blaze.
Additionally, Haigh told the group, the pavilion as it stood prior to being destroyed was accounted for in their SMA permitting process. Any major modifications deviating from the original structure would entail another SMA application, a process that would delay the rebuilding.
County Councilman Tim Bynum, one of the original Kamalani volunteers, suggested the proposed designs and modifications could be incorporated into a second pavilion to be built at the park’s south end, in line with the Kamalani group’s approved master plan for the popular park and SMA conditions.
Bynum’s main concern is the fact that camping is still not allowed in the campground area. The pavilion was designed to serve small groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and church groups wanting to camp and gather.
“This structure has never been tested for what it was intended for,” Bynum said. In his capacity as a councilman, Bynum said he is working with his colleagues to get camping started in the area.
But to turn a negative into a positive, Bynum suggested the group consider building two structures — the replacement pavilion and a second one that would reflect some of the visions of those present.
“I came to listen, tonight,” Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste told the group. “Thank you for caring enough to be here. You can never replace the artwork. I’m here to listen and learn about what directions and options there are.”
Baptiste seemed to agree with Bynum’s suggestion that an open-air theater should be located in a different area to minimize inconvenience to campers and neighbors.
By the end of the evening, there was that common bond of rebuilding the structure.
The first step has been taken, as attendees volunteered to head up various committees that form the Steering Committee.
Noyes said based on his previous experience in the Kamalani community builds, once the go-ahead is given, these people would be the first ones contacted to get the project rolling.
But there also were a lot of questions that needed answers.
For this, Noyes said a second meeting will be held on March 20 at the Aloha Beach Resort, at which time more answers to some of the lingering questions will give more direction to the rebuilding project.