The makai entrances to the bathrooms at Haleiwa Beach Park are being closed, and outdoor showers removed, as a safety measure due to severe erosion, city park officials said Thursday.
Most of the erosion is behind the seawall fronting the Waimea-side of the comfort station, which has been cordoned off with orange netting. The erosion has led to the development of sinkholes behind the seawall, undermining the foundations of adjacent walkways and facilities.
In addition, several palm trees near the seawall may also have to be cut down, depending on the assessment of the city’s Division of Urban Forestry. Their root balls have been exposed to beach erosion.
The city is taking the following actions immediately:
>> Closing off the makai entrances to both sides of the bathrooms. The mauka side will remain open.
>> Decommissioning the outdoor shower and removing it, while exploring where to place a new one. Another shower at the Waialua-side of the beach park is unaffected, and will remain where it is.
>> A sturdier, chain-link fence will be installed to replace the orange netting to restrict foot traffic and prevent further erosion.
“We want to thank the public for their patience and understanding while these measures are taken to ensure public safety,” said Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman Nathan Serota. “We urge the public to please refrain from approaching the restricted areas and from engaging in any unsafe activity that might pose a danger to themselves or result in further damage to the park facilities.”
The city is looking at long-term solutions to address the seawall, as well as beach erosion, taking the current model of anticipated sea level rise into account.
A recent report released by the state Climate Commission said Hawaii should plan for 3.2 feet of sea level rise in the middle to latter half of this century. The 304-page Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report also said 3.2 feet of sea level rise would result in $12.9 billion in potential economic losses and displace 13,300 residents on Oahu.
It paints a dire picture, pointing out that the “seven-mile miracle” along Oahu’s North Shore will “increasingly be eroded and permanently lost if hard structures such as roads and seawalls impede their landward migration.”
Erosion has taken a toll on shorelines across the state, with approximately 70 percent chronically eroding, according to coastal geologists. On Oahu, 60 percent of shorelines are chronically eroding, from Waikiki’s tourist-laden beaches to Kualoa Regional Park, the North Shore and Makaha.