Ask the Mayor: What is the County Doing About Kanahā’s Permanent Campers?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: I’ve noticed a recent increase of homeless people taking over the parking lot at Kanahā Beach. I see lots of them with no camping permit and it is not fair to the ones who want to go for day use. What is the (county) going to do about this? I don’t even feel safe parking there anymore—it’s getting out of control and something needs to be done. After the day-use parking closes they all park outside of the park.
A: I agree. The homeless who have been camping and car-camping at our county beach parks, including Kanahā, have created a very challenging situation for both park users and our department staff alike. But most of them actually have the proper camping permits, which means we can’t kick them out.
Our camping permits at Kanahā Park allow for people to camp three days in a row, then they have to leave the park and they can come back and camp for another three days. The homeless end up repeating this process over and over again so they are in effect, permanent campers.
Our Department of Parks and Recreation staff clean the park on Mondays and Tuesdays and no camping is allowed on those two days, and that is when many of the homeless sleep on the side of the road outside Kanahā.
The parks department, Maui Police Department and other agencies are scheduling a meeting to discuss this issue and how to address it. In the meantime, I encourage you and others who are concerned about this issue to attend a couple of community meetings scheduled this month and next.
The first is a meet-and-greet with park rangers at Kanahā Park on Monday, Nov. 30, from 9 to 10 a.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. at the park’s canoe hale. The second is the Kanahā Beach Park Community Visioning Workshop, which will be held Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Velma Santos (Wailuku) Community Center.
The public’s ideas and feedback will be incorporated into a proposed Master Plan for Kanahā, including future recreational uses, management and other issues including homelessness, camping and needed improvements. Mahalo for expressing your concerns for this beloved Central Maui park.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.