Sand sculptures stir up controversy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Sand sculptures stir up controversy

Robert Fear Robert Fear

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - While Hawaii's home building industry has slowed, there is still daily construction on our beaches, of less permanent design - sand castles.

But even this kinds of construction has raised some concerns.

In waikiki, one sand creation is not only attracting attention, it also has some taking a closer look at what exactly is allowed on our beaches.

On a beautiful day in the islands, you'll find many at the beach.

While some enjoy the water, others get right down to work.

"Its gonna be a little tower, so if an animal comes here they can drink out of it," said eight year old Matsky Mathe from Boston, who was busy digging out a sand castle.

"We just trying to build a regular sandcastle but we're trying to make it really big," said Sydney Eisenhart, visiting from Seattle.

Kids aren't the only ones thinking big at Waikiki beaches.

Antonio Iannini has been hard at work for the past two days on an impressive sand sculpture.

He's creating it in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village for people passing by.

"He comes from Italy to show what he can do," said Iannini's translator, Pat Raffa.

Beachgoers are impressed with his latest work. Some stop to take pictures, others to give a donation. The artist uses that money to pay for his stay in Hawaii.

But on a Monday morning, a different group showed up, according to bystanders.

"The gardeners, and maintenance guys as well as the police department were down here along with a bulldozer and shovels. They were planning to knock this guys artwork down," said Waikiki resident, Robert Fear.

The State doesn't have a problem with the size of Iannini's sculpture, even though Antonio wants to make it even bigger. What is a concern though is his donation box.

Some could argue it makes this a commercial operation and would then need a permit.

The State wants to keep unregulated vendors from cluttering up our scenic shores

but others see this as an artist just adding to the beauty of the beach.

"They love the art he's doing, they want him to finish. We didn't think he was causing a disturbance," added Fear.

One of the other concerns the State has is the use of glue to help keep the sand together on the sculpture. The Department of Land and Natural Resources says it will investigate potential violations at the beach, if there are complaints.

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