Up to 6,000 visitors surge into the farmers’ market by the slopes of Diamond Head each Saturday, yet there are only four public bathroom stalls in a comfort station next to the market to serve them.
The market has grown from a popular weekend gathering for local residents into a tourist attraction with 60 percent of the visitors from out of town and mostly tourists from Japan.
Things came to a head Aug. 26 when visitors had to wait in long lines in the hot sun when two of the four toilets available were not working.
A urinal in the menʻs restroom was covered up with plastic wrapping and one of the two toilets in the womenʻs restroom was also out of order.
A few people I spoke with afterwards said this is not new, that one of toilets in the women’s restroom breaks down periodically.
Restroom Wasn’t Build For Market
The Saturday Farmersʻ Market at KCC is the original and most popular of the six farmersʻ markets run by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. It will celebrate its 14th anniversary next month. The Farm Bureau pays a janitorial service to clean the restroom and supply toilet paper each Saturday, but the facility is owned by the city’s Department of Transportation Services.
The city built the restroom in 2006 to serve as a comfort station for bicyclists and other recreational users. It was never intended to be the main bathroom for thousands of people coming to a farmersʻ market.
City spokesman Andrew Pereira says the city is eager to work with the market and KCC to address the situation.