DLNR proposes permanent ban on booze at Kaneohe sand bar - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DLNR proposes permanent ban on booze at Kaneohe sand bar

William Aila William Aila
Mahealani Cypher Mahealani Cypher
Rick Towill Rick Towill
Gordon Goldsmith Gordon Goldsmith

The Windward community had the chance to voice their opinions on a permanent rule proposal for Ahu o Laka, commonly referred to as the sandbar, in Kaneohe Bay.

The roomful of people at the He'eia State Park took turns at the podium, saying the rule is too severe on boaters.

Boaters have for years been allowed to anchor at Ahu O Laka, and consume alcohol.

The proposal would now permanently prohibit anyone from entering or being in the Ahu O Laka safety zone while possessing or using alcohol, including while under the influence of either substance and disorderly behavior on three day weekends involving a state holiday.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources says the original trial period last year proved successful.

"There were no assaults, there were no bottles being thrown at each other, no lewd sex acts going on," said William Aila Chairperson for DLNR.

But many of the local residents felt a less restrictive policy could be implemented. One idea presented was to have a local community ambassador patrol the island. "That person could handle most of the situations and then we as stewards of the land as residents could help in that effort," said Rick Towill, a local resident.

Other residents who support the proposal say the lewd and disruptive behavior is based solely on one thing. "If the problem is, 'I want to have my booze with me at the sand bar,' then I think it's not about recreation, it's about alcohol," said Mahealani Cypher, a lifelong resident of the area.

Opponents of the rule say it unfairly discriminates against everyone, instead of the irresponsible few. They say most boaters do not abuse their privileges.

"They go out and enjoy it peacefully they go out and have their glass of wine or beer. They come in from fishing, they're hot and tired and they want a beer, it makes this illegal," said resident Gordon Goldsmith.

But DLNR Chair, William Aila says state holiday three-day weekends at Ahu O Laka are meant to be safe for everyone. "If you can't have fun with your family without having alcohol then go to someplace else," he said.

The proposal will next go to the land board for review. DLNR also stated that residents in Moana Lua Bay and Waikiki have also requested the same rule be applied in those areas. DLNR says they are definitely considering looking into it.

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