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Stables can stay awhile, says Navy

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The Navy has agreed to give Kalaleloa horse stables that use World War II airplane revetments an extension on its use of the military-owned land, City Councilman Tom Berg said yesterday.

Last year the Barbers Point Riding Club was given until the end of this June to move out as the Navy turns over or leases the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station land.

The Navy now says it will allow the stables to continue operating for at least another year, Berg said. The extension comes as a relief to horse owners.

"I’m ecstatic," said Erin Fernandes, who has a horse at the stables and first started using the facility 38 years ago. "The only reason I can afford horses is because I’m there."

Berg introduced a resolution urging the preservation of the stables, which have existed since the 1950s. The safety, economic development and government affairs committee unanimously approved the measure on Monday, he said.

A Navy Region Hawaii representative told city officials the use extension was being granted as the Navy completes an environmental review of the property prior to its disposal, Berg said. That review is expected to take about a year longer.

The stables are on 30 acres on the east end of the old military base and use 32 World War II-era concrete aircraft revetments as horse shelters. After the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, about 75 of the revetments were built as part of what was then Marine Corps Air Station Ewa.

"The basic issue is that you have World War II revetments that have become a natural place to house horses," Berg said, calling it a "symbiotic relationship." Berg said the community wants the stables to remain on the Ewa Plain.

Fernandes said about 30 people who are military, retired military and civilians have about 40 horses at the stables.

The stables charges about $90 a month per horse, which officials said is far less than elsewhere.

Fernandes said if another Defense Department agency would agree to take over the stables, it’s her understanding the Navy "would be more than happy to turn it over to them."

If there are no federal agencies interested in the land, the government will offer it to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Navy previously said.

 

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