LIHUE — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was beyond words, throwing his arms up in frustration in Hanalei.
“What are we going to do?” said Carvalho, shaking is head after discovering the conditions at the restrooms at Black Pot Beach Park.
He stopped by the 5th annual North Shore fishing tournament on June 29 coordinated by Chad Pacheco, who suggested the mayor take a look at the restrooms after visiting the weigh-in.
“I told a lady not to go in there,” Carvalho said, still bothered by the sight of the clogged facility. “She didn’t know I was the mayor, but I had to tell her not to use that restroom.”
Restrooms at public parks have always been a source of comment from users, the ones located at the popular visitor destinations seeming to generate more comments.
In March, a visitor from Chicago, visiting Black Pot Beach Park, commented on “kids playing catch with all the tents around and some (of the balls) hitting the urinals.”
“Can you imagine the aroma of food cooking near the portable urinals?” the visitor said.
Makaala Kaaumoana, of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, was helping with the Sanctuary Classic and the Fishing Fair. She pointed out to Carvalho that all of the workers were at the Mayor-a-thon earlier in the day, and no one was out at Hanalei despite the park hosting not only the fishing fair, but the fishing contest and a paddling regatta at the Hanalei Beach Park.
“I went back,” Carvalho said Wednesday. “I got Larry Dill, the county engineer, and some supervisors and we went back Monday morning at 5 a.m. to check if work had been done. Even if I had my good shoes on, I didn’t care. We need to do something.”
This mayoral trip was confirmed by Kaaumoana during the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday.
In response to the growing concern over the bathrooms at county parks, Carvalho has assembled a multi-agency team to address repairs and upgrades to county parks, county spokeswoman Mary Daubert said.
“The team has been working diligently to re-vamp the process for responding to high-priority repairs in our parks and has created a new system of prioritizing repairs and improving communication between parks personnel and public works repair crews,” Daubert said. “Aside from high-priority repairs, the team is also assessing repair and maintenance needs at all of our parks.”
At Black Pot Beach Park, the situation is aggravated by excess water from the showers rolling off the park area and down along the sand access to the beach. Cars accessing the beach using this makeshift roadway further aggravate the situation.
Daubert recently said a full assessment of Lydgate Park was done.
“During the fiscal year 2014 (starting July 1), we will be focusing on completing the majority of the repair and maintenance items which were included in the assessment of Lydgate,” Daubert said. “Funding has been provided in the FY14 budget for this work.”
Assessments of other major beach parks will be done in the months to come and will be addressed as funds become available.
At Poipu Beach Park, where the restroom facility was closed due to damages, the contract for repairs to the western comfort station was awarded to Kakuda Construction, Daubert said.
Roy Yamagata, veteran water safety officer at Poipu, said portable toilets were set up on the road end of the park after the comfort station was closed nearly a year ago.
Work on the western comfort station at Poipu started in mid-May and is scheduled to be completed by August, Daubert said.
The scope of work includes the demolition and re-construction of the termite damaged and weathered wooden roof over the restrooms; removal of the existing roof over the storage room; replacement of the roofs over the restrooms and the existing storage room with the reconstructed wooden roof; repairs on the upper louvered portion of the restrooms; modifications to the plumbing fixtures and toilet partitions in the restrooms to provide accessibility and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and repainting of the interior and exterior of the entire facility.
Additionally, once the construction has been completed at the Poipu western comfort station, the county’s Department of Public Works will assist the Parks Department with the replacement of existing restroom plumbing fixtures, including toilets, lavatories and urinals, with new stainless steel plumbing fixtures before re-opening the facility for public use.
“During this fiscal year, the county expects to outfit both Poipu and Lydgate parks with upgraded fixtures which are stainless steel and graffiti resistant in order to create the ‘super parks’ which are part of the mayor’s (Holo Holo 2020) vision,” Daubert said. “Once these are complete, others will follow.”
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.