Po‘ipu ‘water re-location project’ celebrates completion

PO‘IPU — The parking lot of a restaurant is an unlikely place to celebrate the completion of a major project, but that is where the dedication took place, Tuesday — in the parking lot of Brennecke’s Beach Broiler in Po‘ipu.

The project which started in 2003 and saw more than $1 million invested, was finally completed with the dedication led by Aunty Stella Burgess of the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa with assistance from Troy Lazaro of the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club.

“This is a new step into the future,” Burgess said. “This is for ‘aina, kama‘aina and visitors. This is about maintenance of a sacred site which was started years ago by the Sueoka family. The workers from Earthworks put their goodness into the system, and today we are just going to open it.”

Bob French, who operates the popular Po‘ipu eatery, said the project brought many people together since it started in 2003.

“I call it the ‘Brennecke-Po‘ipu Beach Water Re-Location Project,’ although I don’t know which comes first — ‘Po‘ipu,’ or ‘Brennecke,’” French said. “This project, which was done together, will enhance the park for decades.”

The project was jump-started with a push from the Environmental Protection Agency when Brennecke’s found out it had to close its cesspool, French said.

From there, it was a long journey until Tuesday when the project was finally completed under the direction of project manager Jean Kam, who said it was a pleasure to work on a “green” project of this scope. He said it was an honor working with Earthworks, which encountered more rocks than anticipated in a beach park, and being educated on the significance of the area by Rupert Row and his Malama O Kaneiolouma volunteers, since the project skirted the borders of the heiau.

“This project is long overdue,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., who at the start of the project was with the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

“This project ties into keeping the ‘aina clean and having the opportunity to care for the ‘aina, taking care of a business while upgrading the park facilities.”

Carvalho said this was truly a partnership project, the funds coming from the Sueoka family, with Po‘ipu Beach Park and Brennecke’s benefiting from the work. He added that Po‘ipu Beach Park and Lydgate are on the books to become “super parks.”

“Everyone had a share in getting this done, and the credit should be shared,” Carvalho said. “Po‘ipu has a cultural significance as demonstrated in the first government partnership with Kaneiolouma and as leaders, we have the kuleana, or responsibility, to preserve this place.”

French said the project will connect Brennecke’s to the sewer treatment plant, eliminating the need to pump the cesspools. Additionally, it will link the restrooms at Po‘ipu Beach Park to the same system, resulting in cleaner water.

The $1 million price tag included more than $500,000 in improvements to the county system, with $250,000 going toward permitting and another $250,000 for improvements in the park which will be deeded to the county by the Sueoka family and French.

Jed Sueoka, representing the Sueoka family, credited French for being able to spearhead the process.

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