HONOLULU (AP) — A proposed change at Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve would increase entry and parking fees for visitors who are not Hawaii residents.
The proposal under consideration by the Honolulu City Council would continue free admission and parking for state residents, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.
The preserve at the bay on Oahu’s southeastern tip is the first Marine Life Conservation District in the state, the city’s website said.
Under the proposal, nonresidents 13 years and older would pay $10 for entry to the preserve, which is a 33% increase from the current admission price of $7.50.
Parking for vehicles driven by nonresidents would be $3 per vehicle, up 200% from the current $1.
The original version of the bill would have added a parking fee for residents, but the language was removed in an updated draft submitted by Councilman Tommy Waters.
“In my mind, the $3 parking fee (for non-residents) is very reasonable and modest for such a wonderful attraction,” Waters said.
A dedicated Hanauma Bay Lifeguard District was established more than a year ago, said Lisa Bishop, president of the preserve’s nonprofit support group Friends of Hanauma Bay.
Bishop told the city council’s budget committee Wednesday that fee increases would help support the construction and maintenance of ocean safety facilities and equipment.
The additional money also could fund upgrades to the area’s visitor center and help establish a maintenance program for the bay, she said.
City Emergency Services Director Jim Howe said a committee including municipal and private interests has met for more than a year to re-imagine the bay area as more than a beach park.
The group wants to highlight “an experience of culture and understanding the value of this gem of a place to our community,” Howe said.