Ask the Mayor: Will There Be a Fee to Access Beaches?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.
Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.
Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
Q: A recent article in the Maui News mentioned charging a fee to access beach parks, specifically mentioning Ho‘okipa.
What is the justification for doing this? The only persons who should have to pay a fee to access our beach parks are guided/organized tour groups that are making money from exploiting our beach parks. Their vehicles are large, their group impact to the natural “resources” as well as county facilities/parking lots are more significant.
If a fee were charged for larger tour groups, would that money go to maintaining/improving our parks?
A: I don’t think you read the entire article, which specifically stated that any park entrance fees would not be charged for residents, only for visitors and businesses.
In the article, Parks Director Kaala Buenconsejo also mentioned that a possible first location for such a program would be Kanaha Park.
Park fees for would be deposited in the County’s general fund, which pays for many County services including park maintenance and repairs. It should be noted that while the issue of charging entrance fees to County parks has been an ongoing consideration for many years, the recent proposal was made by a member of the Cost of Government Commission, not our Parks department or administration.
It’s an idea that worth evaluating further, but fees should not impact residents who already help pay for our County parks through taxes.