Hotel promises action, but questions remain over growing trash heap in Waikiki

Frustrated residents and area workers in Waikiki are fed up. They says a big pile of trash has been there for months, and they want it cleaned up.

Bulky trash sits on Lauula Street, and residents say it’s a danger to the community.

They’ve contacted several city agencies, but because it’s a private road, the city says it’s not responsible. So what can be done about it?

The area is located just off Lewers Street behind the Ritz-Carlton hotel. After reaching out to the city, the councilman for the district, and the hotel, we got some results.

A Ritz-Carlton spokesman confirmed the hotel cleaned the mess up Wednesday, and “although the trash does not belong to us, we are doing our part of being a good neighbor in the community and having the trash removed at our own expense.”

That’s good news for residents who couldn’t understand why the trash has been there for so long.

“We’ve called multiple people around the city, trying to get them to take it away, and they just haven’t gotten back to us or told us it was another department’s problem,” said Reeda Martin, who works just a few doors away from the mess.

Martin says she can’t understand why no one wants to clean it up when it’s been here for so many months.

“It’s just getting bigger and bigger, and more businesses move out and dump their stuff here, and nobody does anything,” she said. “We work here and it’s just impeding on our parking spaces, safety.”

There’s an apartment building right next door, so residents see the pile growing bigger. They also see homeless people rummage through the pile, creating an even bigger mess.

“People pay the most money to be in this location, and it shouldn’t be a dump in between the streets that aren’t paved with sunshine and palm trees, know what I mean? Waikiki still needs a little bit of love,” Martin said.

Residents say warning signs were posted last week with the intent of preventing any more illegal dumping, but they want more.

Diane Lorenz lives in the apartment building right next to the mess. She moved in nine months ago and says the pile was already there back then.

There’s a fire hydrant underneath, and she worries that firefighters might have a hard time getting to it.

“I’ve called twice. The fire department, if we have a fire here, it’s not going to be a good situation,” Lorenz said. “It’s embarrassing. My mother came from the mainland, and I started cleaning up the sidewalk over there so there wasn’t rubbish, and hopefully they don’t see this stuff.”

The city says because there’s no frontage to the apartment building, the property manager does not allow bulk pickup. We asked, if the property manager allowed it, would the city then do bulky trash pickup? A spokesman said yes.

But when we spoke to the property manager, she told us she was never given that option.

Once the area is cleaned, who is supposed to keep it that way? We’re still trying to find out who owns this property.

In response to our inquiry, Councilman Trevor Ozawa said in a statement:

“To address the illegal dumping of bulky items left on Lau‘ula Street, I will be submitting a Request for Investigation and Service Report (RISR) to the City Administration requesting the enforcement of illegal dumping of bulky waste. It is my hope that the City moves quickly to determine the ownership of the property and work with them to correct violation in the most expeditious manner.”

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