Letter to the Editor: Hawai‘i County Must Issue Permits for Aquatic Clubs at County Pools

July 28, 2020, 3:54 PM HST (Updated July 28, 2020, 3:54 PM)
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The following is a letter to the editor. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Big Island Now or Pacific Media Group. It has not been edited for content. 

“The County of Honolulu and the County of Maui are now issuing permits to aquatic clubs to resume their programs at Parks & Recreation county pools. However, in Hawai‘i County, they still have no plans or dates to do the same.

When I inquired with Hawai‘i County Parks & Rec Department on the planned date for the similar opening of facilities for the use by Big Island athletic clubs, they could not give me even a target date nor any criteria under which an objective way can be used to make the decision. Instead, I was told that they will be having a staff meeting and when all the staff feels the time is right to re-open, then they will set a date to issue permits to the swimming and diving clubs that use the county pools.

There was no shortage of excuses about COVID safety and shortage of staff to justify the foot-dragging. If Honolulu County, with more population, can safely and successfully begin issuing permits for team use of pools, I don’t understand why Hawai‘i County with a smaller population cannot.

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I asked the leader at Parks & Rec if they had reached out to Honolulu County and Maui County to get feedback and to learn from their experiences; I was informed that they had not. I think that learning from experiences of other sister counties is very important and in this case, someone has dropped the ball at the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks & Recs. The department heads do not have any written, objective, measurable plan or milestone that can be used to make decisions objectively. Instead, what we are left with are staff gut feelings and opinions.

The athletes of Hawai‘i County deserve better than this from the leaders at the Parks and Rec Departments.

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