(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council Finance Committee on Thursday gave a positive recommendation to a resolution that would bring more lifeguard to the popular Hāpuna Beach State Park.
Hawaiʻi County Fire Chief Darren Rosario was on hand for the committee meeting in Hilo. Rosario testified that the new Water Safety Officer II positions are made possible by a grant from Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“If anyone’s been down there,” Chief Rosario said, “we have three towers, of which only two is staffed are regularly. In last fiscal year we had over 830,000 attendees to the beach park. Our water safety officers did 70,000 preventive actions, of which 65 are significant rescues – meaning impending life for critical injuries. Hāpuna is one of the most known beaches for spinal injuries, and so we’re trying to make sure that our visitors and residents can enjoy our island without getting hurt.”
Resolution 739-18 states:
RESOLUTION CREATING THREE (3) WATER SAFETY OFFICER II POSITIONS FOR THE HAWAIʻI FIRE DEPARTMENT
WHEREAS, since 2007, the County of Hawaiʻi has been and continues to be under contract with the State of Hawaiʻi to provide lifeguard services at Hāpuna Beach Park, a state park located in West Hawaiʻi; and
WHEREAS, the number of beach patrons have steadily increased since the County began providing lifeguard services at Hāpuna Beach Park while the number of lifeguards provided has remained constant; and
WHEREAS, the creation of three (3) new Water Safety Officer II positions will provide the additional coverage necessary at this beach park to ensure it is a safe recreational area; and
WHEREAS, authorization to fund these positions utilizing monies provided by a State grant is provided by a Memorandum of Agreement between the County of Hawaiʻi and the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) dated June 27, 2012; and
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAIʻI that three (3) Water Safety Officer II, SR- 17, positions be created in the Hawaiʻi Fire Department.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that funds are available through a grant from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Natural Resources (DLNR).
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk of the County of Hawaiʻi shall transmit copies of this resolution to the Office of the Mayor, the Finance Department, the Department of Human Resources, and the Hawaiʻi Fire Department.
The resolution next goes to the full council for a final vote.