HANALEI — It’s been six months since Black Pot Beach Park reopened its beach to residents and visitors. County of Kauai spent $6 million dollars to rebuild the beach park after it got destroyed by the heavy rains in April of 2018. Already residents are voicing concerns regarding safety and health hazards.
Due to the heavy rains, the dirt roads are filled with potholes creating an unwelcome, bumpy experience and increased traffic. Some area residents are concerned with upkeep on the newly renovated park and wonder what it takes to get County of Kauai to fix the problems. Specifically, concerns relate to traffic flow and potholes.
“Ruts and potholes abound…people can’t get out of there. Cars in the handicapped zone…it’s muddy and rutted, very slippery,” said Hanalei resident Lee Bieler.
County officials say they are aware of the potholes but due to lack of manpower, they have to coordinate different department schedules to address the issues.
“Parking lot repairs are traditionally done on an as needed basis due to a lack of manpower, ” said director of parks and recreation (DOPR) Patrick Porter. “DOPR has two equipment operators that work island wide. In order to keep up with the demand of maintaining unimproved parking lots, DOPR relies heavily on help from the Public Works Roads Division to keep up with the demand.”
Porter said jobs are usually done by coordinating staff from DOPR with staff from Public Works. For example, if the roads crew is scheduled to be in Hanalei during a given week for roads related work, Parks will try and piggy back off of the work and have the parking lots graded at the same time.
“This cuts down on wasted time of mobilization and demobilization of equipment just for one job,” Porter said.
Besides the potholes, there is now a pond of standing water near the showers.
“Standing water by the showers is a leptospirosis bed; infections waiting to happen. Also, very slippery to walk on. Someone will fall and break a hip and possible sue the county,” said Bieler.
Bieler says he’s noticed some filler consisting of crushed coral on top of a black plastic material, a combination that is now being exposed due to heavy foot traffic in the area and points to it as a sign the county skimped on certain areas when building the multi-million dollar beach park.
DOPR says officials are aware of the ponding issue, a product of heavy rains and the nearby shower facility. Officials are working with Kauai’s PW Engineering Services to improve the drainage without direct runoff into the bay.
“Comfort Station repairs are done by the Facilities Maintenance Division,” Porter said. “They work islandwide at all County facilities is through a work order system. Depending on the type of repair, the county has plumbers, electricians, and maintenance workers.”
Porter explains there are only four island-wide plumbers and two electricians on staff to take care of all county facilities, including parks. The division also employs three maintenance workers on the Eastside, seven maintenance workers in the Lihue area, three maintenance workers on the Westside.
Trash is cleaned up at county parks at the beginning of each work day and staff cleans the parks in the morning, lunch and evening — right before the end of each shift.
County of Kauai says there are six park caretakers within the Hanalei section that maintain the comfort stations, pavilions, various facilities, and grounds.
The six park caretakers are responsible for Kilauea Park/ Ballfield, Kilauea Dispensary Park, ‘Anini Beach Park, Black Pot Beach Park, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, Waioli Town Park, Waioli Beach Park (Pine Trees, Bathrooms, Grandpa’s), Ha‘ena Beach Park.
No personnel is specifically dedicated to Black Pot.