Natatorium fix debated
By Robbie Dingeman, ADVERTISER CITY HALL WRITER
Honolulu City Council member Donna Mercado Kim said more than 1,000 people signed a petition over the weekend urging the city to revoke or modify a permit for the controversial restoration of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.
Kim and a handful of staff members collected signatures Saturday and Sunday at Ala Moana Shopping Center, Kapolei, Manoa Marketplace and 99 Ranch Market in Mapunapuna.
Kim said she was surprised by the number of people who were adamant in their opposition to restoring the saltwater pool and just as adamant that the city should simply save the memorial arch.
“The overwhelming majority want the arch restored and the overwhelming majority want a beach,” Kim said.
The waterfront swimming pool, built as a monument to World War I veterans, has been closed since 1979 because it is a safety hazard.
Kim is trying to get the permit issue on the Council agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, even though Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura has said he doesn’t want to take up the issue.
Yoshimura has said he remains opposed to the restoration of the Natatorium pool, but is awaiting a state judge’s decision on a temporary restraining order to block the project before he hears a resolution on the permit.
Kim said it’s irresponsible for the city to move forward with any part of the restoration not knowing the outcome.
City spokeswoman Carol Costa said the city will not begin work on the restoration until after the judge’s ruling, which is now expected tomorrow.