Update on the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium

Photo credit: David Croxford


January 19, 2017:  The City Council’s Housing and Zoning Committee heard Resolution 16-311 that would urge the City administration to include a historic rehabilitation alternative in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement.  Twenty-six people submitted written testimonies in support of the resolution, including Historic Hawaii Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Two individuals, one representing a diverse group of historic and veteran-related organizations, submitted oral testimony in support of the resolution at the hearing.

The Deputy Director of the Department of Design and Construction, Mark Yonamine, and Clifford Lau, Chief of the Facilities Division, represented the City & County of Honolulu in opposing the resolution.  Deputy Director Yonamine stated that the alternate proposed was too similar to a precious design that had been subject to a lawsuit and the DCC therefore felt it was a waste of time to pursue a new proposal that would lead down the same path.

The main issue related to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s alternate proposal is whether it constitutes a “pool,” which would be subject to Department of Health water quality standards and operational procedures, or would be an “open ocean swim basin” that circulates the water using wave action and natural forces, which is regulated the same as the surrounding ocean waters.

The Resolution was temporarily deferred by Housing and Zoning Committee Chair, Kymberly Marcos Pine.  Action taken: City Council will write a letter to the Department of Health requesting they make a determination as to whether the alternate proposed plan constitutes a “pool.”  If the DOH determines it to be a pool, Council Member Pine would not consider it appropriate to move forward and include it in the Environmental Impact Statement. If DOH does not consider it a pool and would regulate it as an ocean venue, she will propose to include review of the Resolution on another Council committee agenda.



The World War One memorial is undergoing an environmental review process to determine whether to do nothing, tear it down or change the swim basin to a mechanical pump system to circulate the water. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has developed a fourth alternative: to retain the historic structure while re-designing the swim basin to circulate the water using wave action and natural forces. Click here to see the Rehabilitation Concept.

City Council’s Resolution 16-311 would support including the Rehabilitation Concept as one of the alternatives to be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is an important evaluation that would compare the preservation concept equitably with the other alternatives previously proposed.


On Thursday, January 19 at 1:00 p.m., City Council’s Zoning & Housing Committee will hear Resolution 16-311 urging the City Administration to include a rehabilitation concept in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement. Resolution 16-311: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-189067/RES16-311.htm


Please send support to City Council in asking the Department of Design and Construction to give the preservation option a fair hearing by attending the public hearing on January 19. 

Can’t make it in person? Fax your testimony or submit online.

Sample Testimony

TO: Honolulu City Council Committee on Zoning & Housing



HEARING DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2017

RE: SUPPORT for Resolution 16-311

“I am writing in support of Resolution 16-311, urging the City to evaluate and assess the merits of a   rehabilitation concept for the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Built in 1927, the Natatorium pays tribute to the 10,000 residents of Hawaii who served in the First World War. The historic structure also is significant for its role in Hawaii’s swimming traditions and its role in Olympic history. It is remembered as the place where generations of Hawaii  residents learned to swim and spent time with family.

The rehabilitation concept would preserve the historic features and provide clean, safe and accessible swimming for new generations. The use of wave action and natural forces is environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible.

Please support Resolution 16-311 and give the rehabilitation alternative a fair hearing in the City’s environmental review.”



Let your voice be heard by our public officials! Submit testimony in person, online or via fax and advocate to offer a fair hearing to this new, ecological alternative proposal to rehabilitate the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

Conversations with lawmakers repeatedly echo the impact of public comments to influence their decisions.  Many voices together resonate loudly!

ACT TODAY:  Add your voice to show you care about restoring the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium!

2017-04-21T01:00:52+00:00 January 16th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog|