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Chinatown business owners petition city council for public bathroomsUPDATED 10:33 PM HST Jan 12, 2014Video Transcript
complaining about for years. Public Restrooms. There aren't any. Good evening, and thanks for joining us. I'm Paula Akana. Pamela Young has the night off. A resolution asking Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration to identify potential restroom locations is scheduled to be heard Tuesday before a City heard Tuesday before a City Council Committee. KITV4's Andrew Pereira reports. Honolulu's Chinatown is an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and markets. But when nature calls you may be on your own.... there are no public restrooms. CHU LAN SHUBERT- KWOCK: "A PUBLIC RESTROOM IS A BASIC NECESSITY THAT ANY CIVILIZED CITY WHO'S INVITING VISITORS, WHO'S HAVING A HEALTHY COMMERCE SHOULD HAVE. IT'S VERY BASIC." There are public bathrooms at Aala Park ... but the park is outside the Chinatown boundary. And with a large homeless population, businesses like Jenny's Leis and Flowers must deal with the mess left behind, especially in the private parking lot out back. FRANCIS WONG: "FOR US, IT'S ONLY THE SMELL. AND WE HAVE TO WATCH WHERE WE WALK. SOMETIMES YOU DON'T WATCH, YOU TRACK IT IN HERE AND THEN THAT'S TERRIBLE." Now a City Council resolution is urging the mayor's administration to identify potential sites for public restrooms. The resolution notes at least three studies and reports dating back to 2006 have documented the need for restrooms in the hustle and bustle of the Chinatown District. CHU LAN SHUBERT- KWOCK: "THE CITY HAS BEEN DEFERRING THIS NECESSITY FOR TOO LONG, AND WE HAVE BECOME A LAUGHING STOCK 47 BECAUSE WE SELL OUR BLUE SKY AND OUR BEAUTIFUL OCEAN, COME, COME, COME AND THEN YOU WALK INTO CHINATOWN OR WAIKIKI OR ANYPLACE, YOU SEE FILTH." ANDREW PEREIRA: "IN NOVEMBER OF 2011, THE CHINATOWN BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION BEGAN A 90 DAY PILOT PROJECT, SETTING UP TWO PUBLIC RESTROOMS HERE NEAR RIVER OF LIFE FOR USE ON WEEKENDS. DURING THE THREE MONTH PERIOD MORE THAN 1,000 PEOPLE USED THE FACILITIES AT A COST OF ABOUT $10,000 DOLLARS." CHU LAN SHUBERT- KWOCK: "I THINK THE CITY WOULD JUST THINK A LITTLE BIT OUTSIDE OF THE BOX AND HIRE A SUBCONTRACTOR AND WORK WITH THE COMMUNITY TO SAY, 'OK, WE WANT TO MAKE THIS A STATEMENT. WE CARE ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY AND WE WANT HYGIENE.'" But with space in Chinatown at a premium, the most difficult decision may be were to place public restrooms and how to keep them clean. FRANCIS WONG: "THE HOMELESS NEED ONE, BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY'RE GOING TO MAINTAIN IT. I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY GOING TO PUT T. IS IT GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE PORTABLE ONES?" If the resolution is passed by the Public Safety and Economic Development Committee, and then the full Council... Caldwell's administration would have to provide recommended solutions for restrooms in Chinatown by January 30.