City Council committee approves measure banning commercial beach activities in Kailua

Published: Apr. 19, 2012 at 1:29 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM HST
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By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu City Council committee has approved a measure that would ban commercial beach activities at Kailua and Kalama beach parks, seven days a week.

Earlier this year, the Honolulu City Council approved a measure that would ban commercial activities at Kailua and Lanikai beach parks on Sundays. However, the new law won't take effect until July.

The council's Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee traveled to Kailua to hear testimony on the new measure, Bill 11 CD1, which was introduced by area councilman Ikaika Anderson.

"They were loud and clear when they came out to a meeting I had about a month ago. A hundred plus community members said 'Ikaika, we don't want any commercial activity, we don't want any tour bus activity, and we want you to take that back to the council,'" he said.

More than 200 people, including current and former area state lawmakers, came to support the bill.

"Kailua is not Waikiki," Rep. Chris Lee (D-Keolu, Lanikai, Waimanalo) told the council committee. "We do not have the infrastructure to support the increased commercial use here that we've seen in recent years." The remark drew cheers and applause.

"I really like to bodyboard at Kalamas and surf, and I don't want to be run over or have people who are learning or tourists to get in the way," said eleven-year-old Max Moonier.

Several of those who testified were especially against kayak rental companies at the beach parks. "The island bird sanctuaries of Popoi'a (Flat Island) and Moku Nui have lava rock shorelines except for one small sandy beach, which can fill up quickly with a single kayak tour. However, there are seven companies selling tours," said Lisa Miller.

"Many people have a deep spiritual connection to Kailua Beach," said resident Lisa Cates. "Many go there to connect with loved ones whose ashes are scattered there, and to see it exploited for monetary gain is hurtful."

While the majority of the audience favored the bill, there were also those who said it may make the problem worse.

"The biggest vendor of kayaks is just across the street from the park, out of the reach of this bill, so what this bill will do is put us and two other companies out of business," said Bob Twogood of Twogood Kayaks Hawaii.

"Making this illegal isn't going to make the vendors go away, it's going to increase the illegality," said attorney Les Iczkovitz. "It's going to create a monopoly, as Mr. Twogood said, for one vendor. It's going to triple the amount of kayaks that are crossing the road.

Anderson was joined by fellow council members Tom Berg and Tulsi Gabbard in voting for the measure. Council members Romy Cachola and Breene Harimoto approved it, with reservations. It now goes before the full council May 9.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.