KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A ban on nearly all commercial activity at Kailua and Kalama beach parks is now in effect after the Honolulu City Council voted to override Mayor Peter Carlisle's veto of Bill 11.
The council needed six votes to override the veto; the final vote was 7-2.
The measure was aimed at tour buses and kayakers. But there were concerns raised by people who kite board or windsurf at Kailua Beach Park. At least one person who testified before the vote told the council that a modification of the law to allow instructional permits would ensure that the two water sports would be accessible, even to locals who wish to learn them.
Council member Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kailua, authored the bill after receiving numerous complaints about the proliferation of commercial ventures at Kailua Beach Park. He noted that the beach parks are in a residential community. "They do not have the carrying capacity for that amount of traffic. They don't have the carrying capacity for that amount of tour bus activity, either," he said.
"They're still going to have the traffic mess that they complain about," said council member Breene Harimoto, who voted against the override. "They're still going to have all the tour buses coming. The tourists won't stop coming. They will find a way."
"You are going to send the wrong signal to our visitors. It will compromise our number industry," said Romy Cachola, who voted with Harimoto.
Mayor Carlisle vetoed the measure last month saying the bill was too broad and would set a bad precedent.
Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks has been in business right across the street from Kailua Beach Park. It had already voluntarily stopped rentals on Sundays. The store reported that business during the peak summer months was down -- 20 percent in June, and 27 percent in July -- as a result.
"We are actually actively working with the community on adjusting our total numbers, so we've reduced the number of kayaks. That's why our business was down in June and the month of July," said store owner Egmar Klemmer.
A Kailua resident said the bill would hurt those who rely on the beach for their livelihoods. "What are they supposed to do? In the same take, we don't want the beaches overrun with tourists, bad parking situations, mayhem," said Rob Hagin.
Anderson said there's a chance some activities could be allowed again at the parks. "I'm open to that discussion if the community wants to have it. But that's going to be the community's call. That's not going to be my call, or the city council's call, or even the mayor's call."
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