Proposal to allow alcohol at Queen's Beach runs into opposition - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Proposal to allow alcohol at Queen's Beach runs into opposition

Waikiki Beach Waikiki Beach
Dozens turn out to testify at a public hearing. Dozens turn out to testify at a public hearing.
Alethea Rebman Alethea Rebman
Ed Nishioka Ed Nishioka
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A proposal to allow alcohol during special events at a Waikiki beach ran into opposition during a public hearing on Friday. The NFL is asking the city to allow liquor to be served to sponsors and their guests during Pro Bowl Week festivities on Queen's Beach. The rule change could also benefit other events at Queen's Beach, including volleyball tournaments.

About two dozen people testified during Friday's hearing. Most of them criticized the rule change which would permit alcohol at up to four public events each year. The drinks would be served, not sold, in an invitation-only section that is cordoned off. The section cannot exceed an area of 2,400 square feet.

"It's just a bad idea all the way around to fence off Hawaii beachfront for alcohol and VIPs when the public is not allowed to fence off their area. The public is not allowed to have alcohol on the beach," said Alethea Rebman, board president of the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society.

Queen's Beach is considered to be part of Kapiolani Park, but is not trust land.

The NFL is planning a free Pro Bowl stadium event at Queen's Beach from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on January 29-30. The festivities would be paid for by NFL sponsors.

"In order for this event to be put on for the public, which is of immense value to the public, sort of world class that we don't usually get, that is one of the things that they need to be able to do to show appreciation," explained Rick Schneider, CEO of Events International which works with the NFL.

"Right now, our beaches and parks are family-friendly. There's no alcohol. If that's not a good policy, the city needs to change it for everybody, not just for VIPs. And of course, the potential liability is huge," said Rebman.

The city would not charge a fee for the permit, but a refundable security deposit is required along with a $5 million dollar insurance policy.

"This is not a private party on the beach. This is a big event for the general public to enjoy an NFL experience, and there's a small component of it being the hospitality area, so it's not rich people buying out the beach," said Ed Nishioka of DNA Communications.

Department of Parks and Recreation officials will use the feedback to make a decision. If the rule change is approved, the Honolulu Liquor Commission will take the proposal under consideration.

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