(BIVN) – Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim recently sat down with Sherry Bracken to discuss his decision to bar a handful of visiting hula halau from staying overnight in county gyms during the Merrie Monarch Festival.
In an August 9 letter, Mayor Harry Kim informed Merrie Monarch Festival president Luana Kawelu of the county decision “against the continued practice of allowing overnight stays at (county) recreational facilities.” The Hawaii County Fire Department alerted the Department of Parks and Recreation of “specific Fire and Building Codes that are being violated by allowing this practice,” according to the letter.
Speaking to Bracken for the Island Issues radio program while inside his Hilo office, Mayor Kim said his administration was in communication with Merrie Monarch organizers concerning the fire code issues before the 2017 festival in April. Kim explained how they came to the decision to allow for a temporary exemption, as long as an approved fire watch was posted at each facility.
“But at that time, it was understood we got a look at the future,” Kim said, “because this kind of thing – you can talk to the fire chief – is only to mitigate for that year.”
“We need to do this for safety and everything else, along with that the discussion of our responsibilities. Number one, do it fast so they have time to plan,” Kim said.
Big Island Video News will have more on this story in an upcoming video report.