Pitted parking at Black Pot

  • Courtesy of Lee Bieler

    Potholes in the parking lot.

  • Courtesy of Lee Bieler

    Standing water from the showers is a health issue.

  • Courtesy of Lee Bieler

    Parking lot needs maintenance.

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.

  1. Gordo February 4, 2020 12:57 am Reply

    Four island-wide plumbers and two electricians on staff, plus six caretakers equals 12 people responsible. Who are these people?!? And where do they live?? Oahu??!!!

  2. nobody February 4, 2020 7:35 am Reply

    Some good observations.

    As a Monday morning quarterback I would say it was a bad idea to introduce crushed coral for the parking lot. The original 50 year old natural hard packed sand parking lot needed little attention over the years. It even made it through the flood. At least they didn’t bring in red dirt like they did at the Kealia parking lot remodel. What a mess that was. (is)

    Something really needs to get done about the drainage ditch from the parking lot and shower. It rains too much to let it be. It’s really a gross health hazard. Toddlers can be seen playing in the muck. Yikes!

    I’m pleased that they at least put in enough parking so people can access the beach. Not the same in Haena where surfers now can’t find parking anymore due to the anti tourist sentiment of selfish malahines taking away parking so they can have their private paradise.

  3. Anahola Paul February 4, 2020 8:07 am Reply

    It’s done at Haena and its been initially successful at the Waimea Canyon… install paid parking into the limited availability of space around Blacks Beach. Obviously, this beach and its incredible view; entertains island visitors that make it a highly sought-after stop. If the County could raise $$ to hire and pay for private construction contractors to fix the potholes and drainage concerns; I believe we could implement this on other sites within the county that need continuous upkeeping. If you only have 3 County construction maintenance personnel on staff on the Eastside- these problems will never be addressed on a timely basis and maintained. I view Kauai and its beautiful landscape as a Disneyland park. Over a million visitors spend their vacations with us… and they demand our parks to be clean, parking lots to be maintained, and toilets to be working. Disneyland charges a large fee to enjoy their parks and activities. Year after year more visitors come to the ‘Disneyland’ of the pacific: Kauai. I think the County needs to charge these visitors and keep the money in Kauai and not Honolulu. More daily parking fees for visitors…should be in our future. Just like in the canyon parking, perhaps a $20 a day Kauai County parking ticket should be issued to enter these future well-maintained areas.

    1. StirringTheBlackPot February 5, 2020 11:36 am Reply

      While there has been no public announcement, it is rumored that the Walt Disney corporation has long range plans to acquire all the islands, starting with Kauai, and turn them into a resort destination similar to Disney World in Florida. Transportation and parking will likely be included as part of your vacation package. Most visitors will not need parking as even the basic package will include unlimited use of the air conditioned electric monorail system that will encircle and bisect the island. Truly all-inclusive from the moment you step off the plane or disembark the cruise ship.

  4. CommonSenseish February 4, 2020 10:06 am Reply

    Laughable… so basically COK is just full of excuses.

  5. Makani B. Howard February 4, 2020 11:09 am Reply

    Anyone with half a brain would have known this would happen!

    Who is the engineer who designs these things, anyway?

  6. Kauaidoug February 4, 2020 1:34 pm Reply

    Rediculous, the potholes. I thought they were building Imus! What kind of planning is that? I wonder if it ever occurred to planners that the 2000 people less at Kee would translate to greater use elsewhere. It seems very busy at Black pot

  7. nobody February 5, 2020 8:44 am Reply

    Yes, the unintended consequences of closing Ke’e to most visitors. At least when tourists go to the pier they probably won’t die. Most end up at Lumadie and other unsafe beaches.

    Ke’e is now a ghost town. Underutilized.

    The good news. The recent lack of tourism in Haena has become a good selling point for real estate agents. Rich malahines can now buy their own private paradise. Locals restricted to Ke’e due to the lack of parking everywhere else.

  8. dnakauai February 5, 2020 9:13 am Reply

    So I happened to be looking at old photos I took. One from summer of 2003. sunset at Black Pot beach panoramic from pier to princeville bluff, not one human in the picture, only my dog sitting on the beach. It’s amazing how quickly things have changed. So, with all this interest from tourists coming to Kauai why not have a flat “visitor fee” paid when booking the flight/trip to Kauai? With the amount of visitors coming the fee would only have to be minimal, say $5.00/person? Fact: According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Kauai had 118,873 visitors in December, bringing the total for the year to 1.38 million. Doing the math that would be $6.9 million dollars raised in 2019 to be spent directly on improving our park facilities. Or maybe this makes too much sense to ever be put into action? Just a thought

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