Monday, June 21, 1999

Judge rules
Natatorium a pool

The ruling will affect the city's
restoration and future uses
of the facility

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


A Circuit Court judge today ruled that the Waikiki War Memorial and Natatorium is a swimming pool. As a result of the ruling, the Natatorium must receive a permit from the state Health Department if the city wants to proceed with an $11.5 million restoration project.

The decision by Judge Gail Nakatani puts the project in question because Health Director Bruce Anderson has raised serious questions about whether the pool can meet standards.

The suit was brought by the nonprofit Friends of Kaimana Beach, which opposes the restoration citing health questions, cost and possible ruin of neighboring Kaimana Beach.

“The Department of Health should and must be designated the watch guard,” Nakatani said in making her decision.

Anderson said last week that if Nakatani ruled against the city, he would make new rules pertaining to saltwater pools.

Anderson is doubtful the city would be able to meet the standards now in place for freshwater pools, particularly with respect to water clarity and disinfection requirements needed to combat bacteria. Corporation Counsel David Arakawa said the city will proceed with the 72-year-old Natatorium's restoration even without a Health Department permit.

Jerry Silva, a spokesman for Mayor Jeremy Harris, said the city can move ahead with the facade and other nonwater portions of the Natatorium without any further permits.

Jim Bickerton, attorney for the Kaimana Beach group, said he will take immediate action to stop the city if, or when, it chooses to proceed without permits.

Arakawa also said the city will appeal Nakatani's decision.

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