The secret is out: Waimanalo has a beautiful beach.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park was recently named the top beach on an annual top 10 list of U.S. beaches, compiled by a Florida International University coastal science professor who goes by the colorful title of “Dr. Beach.”
“I was surfing the Internet yesterday and I saw an article on the best 10 beaches,” said Ewa Beach resident Vivica Scott. “Waimanalo was noted, so I said to my husband, oh!, I know where we’re going.”
But the increased recognition has some local residents concerned.
City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kaneohe, Kailua and Waimanalo, proposed a bill banning commercial activities and tour buses from entering all Waimanalo beach parks. He said most of the parking lots aren’t big enough to handle these buses.
Anderson said he saw the same problem in Kailua and he doesn’t want it happening in Waimanalo.
“We don’t want to push anybody out,” he said. “We don’t want to do that, but we need to make sure that we protect the access to our beach parks for our residents who pay taxes for these parks.”
On Sunday, tour buses pulled into the small parking lot at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, which did not sit well with one resident couple.
“The resources here for the community are being exploited by these tour groups, who make a profit to transport people to these areas,” said Kukana Kama-Toth.
She said she first started noticing the influx of tour buses heading into Waimanalo a year ago. “The current law is, if they come into these parking lots, they are only allotted 15 minutes. But what’s occuring is that they’ll come and try to pitch a tent and have activities on the beaches for their tour group. And that’s against the law.”
A public hearing on Anderson’s bill is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, at 10:30 a.m. at Honolulu Hale.