Conservationists asking for transparency over Hanauma Bay money

Hanauma Bay

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There’s no question there’s money being generated by thousands of tourists who pay to park and then visit Hanauma Bay. But exactly how much cash is not easily discovered.

The Friends of Hanauma Bay is a group of volunteers that run one of Honolulu’s busiest tourist attractions — it’s falling apart.

“The touchscreen computers used mostly by keiki for learning purposes were down. It took a year-and-a-half to fix them. Only now is new video system being put in after a year-and-a-half. We don’t really know why it took so long,” said Bob Kern with Friends of Hanauma Bay.

Rusty guard rails, broken roofs — the list goes on. But where is the money to fix it?

“No, we collect the money and turn it into the city. It goes into a special Hanauma Bay account and the general fund. And later on, I put budget request saying we need these things, we anticipate these expenses, or we need these repairs. And every year the budget gets drastically cut. And the reason is, supposedly, there’s not enough money in the account to meet all the budget requests, but we could never really ascertain that,” former Hanauma Bay Director Alan Hong said.

But even City Councilmembers found that the Parks and Recreations Director Toni Robinson, couldn’t give them a number because they are waiting for a consultant to finish a preliminary management plan for the bay, which was started two years ago.

“In March, I don’t think anything was completed on that plan. How much are we paying the consultant? Can you find out? And what is the estimated date of completion?” Robinson said.

After getting no answers, the council committee passed a resolution that urges the city government to give the financial info the Friends of the Bay, so they can better plan and budget for repairs and improvements.

It still has a public hearing and a couple more votes before deciding to adopt the resolution.

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