By Wendy Osher
A bill to ban alcohol at Kalama and Cove Parks in South Maui gained unanimous passage on second and final reading today.
The bill amending the county code to prohibit the consumption of alcohol at the two Maui parks was first introduced in November by South Maui Council Member Don Couch.
Upon introduction, Couch said, “These county parks and playgrounds should be family-friendly places where children can play without fear of being bothered by people who have had too much to drink.”
He further expressed confidence the measure would give Maui police an extra tool to help protect youth at community parks facilities.
Today, Couch thanked members for their support and noted a shift in opinion for some who were initially opposed to the idea, saying they realized what was being done, and agreed to the purpose of the bill.
The passage today comes after recommended approval from the council’s Economic Development, Agriculture, and Recreation Committee, which met on December 1, 2011 and on January 5, 2012.
Fellow Council Member, Mike White who chairs the committee said the group received an “overwhelming” amount of public testimony in support of the alcohol prohibition.
He said testimony particularly supported the banning of alcohol at Kalama Park because of the many youth programs operating at the location.
“We’ve had so many graphic descriptions of what takes place in this park; and as a testifier this morning mentioned, this is a park specifically designed for youth activities,” said White.
“I think it’s an important move for the county to help protect the environment in which all of our children are playing and getting to know each other and having fun and games. They shouldn’t have to be putting up with the influences of others who are not as caring about what’s going on in our community,” said White at today’s council meeting.
The bill effectively prohibits the consumption of any intoxicating liquor within the boundaries of the two parks, unless authorized by permit, license, lease or concession.
There are already prohibitions against alcohol consumption included in the County Code for Keopuolani Park in Kahului; Kamehameha Iki, Malu’ulu’olele, and Honokowai Parks in Lahaina; and Charley Young and Kamaole Beach Park I in Kihei. Alcohol consumption is already prohibited in county parking lots as well.
The motion was carried with eight yes votes, and one member excused (Victorino).