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Permits needed but no rules exist for ‘bouncers’ at parks

For Wednesday, April 13, 2011

By June Watanabe


Question: I've been noticing more and more “bouncer houses” at our beach parks. They are noisy, with generators putting out exhaust all day; they take up a lot of space; and they detract from the natural beauty of our public spaces. I have two kids who love these things, but find them intrusive, especially at smaller parks like Kaimana Beach. Can’t a middle ground be reached in which people have to obtain permits and vendors have to educate the public as to where they can install them? Philosophically, I wish families would go back to simpler times of a boogie board and a box of okazu for a day at the beach.

Answer: Permits are required, but there currently are no rules on the use of “inflatables.”

We were told four years ago that the city Department of Parks and Recreation had drafted a proposal to regulate “commercial amusement activities” and to restrict inflatables to certain picnic areas at Ala Moana Park, Central Oahu Regional Park, Maili Beach Park, Neal S. Blaisdell Park, Keehi Lagoon Beach Park, Waimanalo Beach Park and Haleiwa Beach Park (see

The latest version of “Commercial Activity Rules” was sent to the city corporation counsel for review on March 15, said a parks official.

Once legal approval is given, there will be a “small business impact survey and then a public hearing,” he said.

While permits are required to erect the inflatables, we’re told it’s up to each park manager to determine areas of use and any restrictions. Most of the inflatables would be allowed under a “picnic permit.”

Permits may be issued by the Parks Maintenance and Recreation Services Division or a satellite city hall.

“Each manager may have certain park areas that they would allow the activity, and areas that they would not,” said an official with the division. The public should contact the park manager to find out what is allowed in a specific park.

An example of what the permits might or might not state: no water inflatables; insurance required from the commercial amusement company; and driving on the grass allowed, with the approval of the park manager.

Some picnic permits might not allow inflatables, but there could be a canopy or generator.

Question: Regarding the website that provides text and email alerts during a tsunami (“Kokua Line,” April 12), can you let readers know it is It was a representative from the Civil Defense office who mentioned this in a TV interview during the March tsunami event. Individuals sign up for free alerts via email and/or text to mobile devices. They can select the level of notice to be received on their mobile phone, as well as multiple locations for which to receive notices.

Answer: It was the city Department of Emergency Management (formerly Oahu Civil Defense) that adopted the website as its primary message platform last August, said spokesman John M. Cummings III. He said officials relied on it “quite heavily” during last month’s tsunami emergency. At last check, he said there were about 3,600 users.

Call the department at 723-8960 for more information or check the website.


To a fine gentleman who helped me when I could not get in my car because the car next to me parked so close I could not get in. This was on the third level of Ala Moana Center. Somehow, he got in on the driver’s side and backed my car out for me. I didn’t get his name; he had his wife with him. They were so nice and helpful.

Bill and Casey

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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