Cleanliness Of Beaches And Parks Major Concern
Richard’s Roundtable …Rep. Richard Fale
Several months ago, in response to community concerns about Ali’i Beach Park, some residents walked me through the park to show me their concerns, which included significant piles of trash, illegal tents, needles and other drug paraphernalia that are hazardous to the ocean and beachgoers.
Recently, there have been reports both in the community and on local news stations about the cleanliness and upkeep of bathrooms in Haleiwa Beach Park, Kaiaka Beach Park and other beaches and parks across the island.
A few weeks after that walkthrough, my family and I spent the afternoon at Ali’i Beach Park with friends. Between the barbecues and the water, it was evident that the concerns those community members had shared with me months ago still were prevalent, though I know many in the community, including our North Shore Neighborhood Board, are making efforts to improve monitoring and oversight of the park.
Those whom we spoke to at the park believe the neighborhood board’s efforts have had some positive effects, as there seem to be fewer individuals illegally camping there and staying overnight. Community members still were very concerned, however, about drug use, the continued presence of illegal overnight campers and the severe damage to public restroom facilities there.
What started off as a day of surf and sun turned into a five-hour education on the park’s history, the challenges that youths face in Haleiwa and on the North Shore, and what needs to be done to turn around some things in the park.
Most of the education came from sitting and talking story with Uncle Hawaiian and Derek, well-known locals who have been coming to these beaches for years. It was really great to hear of all the things that used to happen at the park, what it was like before the state and the city took it over, and the potential they believe the park has to be a force for good. It also was really sad to hear the list of youths Uncle Hawaiian and Derek knew from back in the day whose lives have been destroyed by drugs and broken homes.
They spoke about the growing struggles elderly and plantation-era families have in holding onto their homes, as the pressure to sell grows and as property taxes and cost of living continue to rise.
This kind of talk-story time is incredibly helpful to community leaders, and I’m thankful to anyone who is willing to meet with me and talk about what is going on in the community, whether it is a challenge we face, obstacle we have to overcome or an achievement we have reached.
Please share your stories by emailing our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 586-6380.
As for Ali’i Beach Park, I look forward to learning more about keeping our parks and beaches clean, safe and accessible, and I hope to continue to work with our neighborhood board and community members to find solutions, so families can continue to enjoy Hawaii’s beaches and parks for years to come.