Moanalua pool heater broken for years despite earmarked funds

Pool users in Moanalua are tired of shivering in the cold. The heater at their community pool has been broken for more than two years.

Twice a week, seniors come to the Moanalua Garden pool to exercise, but not everybody can take part. “Many of us have arthritis in our hands,” explained exerciser Fran Yamate. “The water is too cold for me to come back in. If the water were heated, I could come in, participate, shower and go home. So I think the heated pool would benefit everybody here.”

The city says it would cost $33,000 to replace the heat pump.

The Parks and Recreation department would not talk on camera, but director Toni Robinson gave us a written statement explaining that the cost, plus the fact that there’s a heated pool nearby in Salt Lake, made them decide not to fix it.

Some pool users say they were happy when they found out the city council had set aside the money to fix it, but time passed and nothing changed.

“I don’t understand as a taxpayer, if money is approved by the city council and it’s designated for a city project, why is it not being used?” said pool user Sharon Uesugi.

Council member Carol Fukunaga worked to get the money set aside for Moanalua residents. She’s not happy that they’re still left in the cold.

“I guess when we put in our budget description, we gave the administration a little bit of leeway and we’re very disappointed that they’re choosing to exercise that leeway by not providing the heating equipment that we really tried to provide,” Fukunaga said.

KHON2 found there is no way to guarantee that money earmarked by the city council will go where members want it to go. The final decision rests with the departments.

Meanwhile, two dozen seniors still exercise twice a week at the Moanalua Garden pool, all bundled up.

When asked what they should do, Fukunaga said “we should encourage them to keep speaking up.”

Fukunaga says she’ll put it in the budget for next fiscal year, which doesn’t start until July 1.

The city says the Moanalua pool remains on its list of improvement projects.

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