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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Natatorium: Time for Harris to let go

"It seems completely illogical," says the director of the Waikiki Aquarium in what may be the understatement of the year.

Dr. Andrew Rossiter was referring to the obduracy of outgoing Mayor Jeremy Harris in the matter of the crumbling Natatorium.

Harris insists he's going to move ahead with a plan to shore up the sagging structure, even though the City Council and the incoming mayor, Mufi Hannemann, have indicated their opposition to the project.

Hannemann says he'll halt the project as soon as he takes office.

Given that Harris' plan involves driving more than 80 pilings into the reef below the Natatorium, it simply doesn't make sense to undertake this project when it's sure to be abandoned three weeks later.

Rossiter, meanwhile, warns that the pile-driving will be detrimental to the fish in his charge, and possibly to the structure that houses them.

We're disturbed by the notion of pile-driving on the reef, and the ecological damage that's sure to do.

Citing a consultant, Harris says the structure could collapse if it isn't shored up. But it's the pool and deck structure that Harris is rushing to save, and it's the pool and deck structure that likely will be removed in the end, leaving the memorial and bathrooms — and a restored stretch of beach.

Throwing $6 million at this project at this time is "completely illogical" — to say the least.

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