The clock is ticking! If we’re going to save the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, we need your help shape the draft of the environmental impact statement. Make sure your voice is heard before the Aug. 22 deadline for public comment.
Here’s the situation: Two days after the open public meeting on the Natatorium last week, the City and County of Honolulu published what’s called an “environmental impact statement preparation notice.” [Note: It’s a 141-page PDF.]
Now, after a 30-day public comment period, the city’s planners will write a draft environmental impact statement. Another public comment period will follow, and then a final EIS will be adopted.
As of this moment, the city, incredibly, is still proposing what it calls its “preferred action:” demolition of the Natatorium and construction of an artificial beach in its place.
You read that correctly: Rather than renovating and reopening Hawaii’s official World War I memorial, the City and County of Honolulu proposes to demolish it. Just tear it down. Raze a pre-statehood, 87-year-old tribute to Hawaii’s 10,000 World War I heroes and heroines. Bulldoze a place where dozens of Hawaii’s own Olympic medalists swam, where Hawaii’s keiki learned to swim and where families gathered for generations.
Worse yet: The City and County proposal to knock down this shrine comes during the four-year observance of the centenary of World War I. Really?
The EIS preparation notice grossly misstates the facts about the “preservation alternative.” It falsely claims that reopening the Natatorium would require an incredibly expensive “closed pool” design, rather than an affordable, re-engineered, open, ocean-fed tidal design.
In short, the City and County has stacked the deck. It has rigged this process against renovation and reopening.
What You Can Do
You have until Aug. 22 to tell the City and County and its EIS consultants to get this right. You have until Aug. 22 to tell them their study must be an objective and FAIR comparison of renovation/reopening vs. demolition.
You are welcome to write your own letter. But, to make it easier, we are also offering you a template. You can fill it out. You can add to it. You can edit in or out anything you wish so that the final letter represents your position on the Natatorium.
Write Your Letter Now
FIND THE TEMPLATE HERE. [To make editing easy, it’s in Microsoft Word.]
When you’ve finished your letter, print out three copies and (well before that Aug. 22 deadline) mail one each to:
Mr. Clifford Lau
City and County of Honolulu/Department of Design and Construction
650 S. King Street, 11th floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
Ms. Celia Shen
WCP Inc./Suite 208
99-061 Koaha Way
‘Āiea, HI 96701
Mayor Kirk Caldwell
Honolulu Hale/Room 306
530 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Remember: Your letters must be received by Aug. 22!
Let’s do this! MAHALO!
What Else Can You Do?
There are lots of other things you can do to help. One is to proudly wear our Friends of the Natatorium T-shirt. Our friends at ‘Ōiwi Ocean Gear make a donation to Friends of the Natatorium for every shirt sold!