Home' Greymouth Star : August 23rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
West Coast Feature
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 7
Seems like only
Twenty-five years ago this week, gas explosions decimated the
Trans-West Freighters building, the Civic Centre was up for an
overhaul, a tenderer was found to build the new Hokitika bridge
and the Mayor of Westland was given an income of $40,000. Read
more from the yellowing pages of the Greymouth Evening Star of
The gutted Mercedes truck after the fire.
August 21, 1989
Hokitika bridge contract
goes to Christchurch
The $7.6 million tender has been let for
the new State highway bridge across the
Hokitika River, with a start to be made
within a month.
Husband Construction Ltd, of
Christchurch, beat off 12 other tenders for
the contract to build the 740m long bridge
on the site of the old road-rail bridge
which was demolished in 1983.
The bridge and new highway are
programmed for completion by September
Work will start on the Southside
foundation and will then move to the town
side where a big culvert will be installed in
the first channel to give access to the island.
Minister of Transport, Mr Bill Jeffries,
said confirmation of the construction
would be welcomed by the people of
Hokitika and West Coasters generally.
“It will also improve the scenic value of
State highway 6 allowing a closer coastal
route to be taken and passing the lakes
south of Hokitika.”
He said the completed bridge and roading
project will cost almost $11m.
After years of disappointments,
correspondence, deputations, meetings and
petitions, the dream has finally turned to
reality, said Hokitika Mayor, Mr Henry
“I believe the bridge, during its
construction and when completed, will
bring many benefits to Hokitika, with
greatly increased numbers of tourists
visiting the business area of the town.”
August 22, 1989
Residents flee as explosions
Huge fireball explosions rocked central
Greymouth early this morning as fire
gutted a freight depot.
A punctured tyre on a Trans-West
Freighters truck is blamed for starting the
inferno, which saw acetylene gas bottles
exploding in huge fireballs.
The Mercedes truck had arrived on
a freight run from Christchurch at
approximately 4am, and the driver had
changed a tyre during his trip.
Greymouth Fire Brigade chief fire officer,
Mr Alan McEnaney, said the punctured
tyre was placed in its cradle under the rear
trailer and had later caught fire.
On the rear trailer were 70 gas bottles of
acetylene and oxygen and the explosion of
these could be heard up to 5km away.
The depot, which houses Trans-West
Freighters and New Zealand Industrial
Gases, was completely gutted, the intense
heat melting steel girders.
A number of houses and the Union
Hotel, in about a 200m radius from the fire,
were evacuated as the fireball explosions
leapt many metres into the air and blew out
windows in some dwellings.
“A bread delivery driver alerted police at
about 5am and they in turn alerted us,” Mr
Inside the storeroom were at least another
four dozen bottles of acetylene and oxygen
and firemen concentrated on keeping them
Three units and 34 firemen fought the
blaze at its height, and the Dobson unit
was called to cover the Greymouth area.
August 23, 1989
Mayoral salary up to
The Mayor of the Westland District
Council will be eligible for a maximum
salary of $40,000 a year, according to the
new formula announced by the Minister of
The new figure was calculated on a
population of less than 20,000.
For the deputy mayor and chairpersons
of standing and special committees, the
maximum payable allowance will be $85
a meeting, with a maximum salary of
$10,000 a year.
Council members on the Westland
District Council will be eligible for a
maximum meeting allowance of $85 a
meeting and $3000 a year.
Hokitika Mayor, Mr Henry Pierson said
“the mind boggled ” at the new rates and he
felt sure the District Council would receive
some severe criticism if they were adopted.
August 24, 1989
Work soon to refurbish
Work on refurbishing the Civic Centre
in Greymouth will begin in earnest on
Saturday, September 9.
Committee chairman, Mr Mick
O’Donnell, said work on the first weekend
would see the cleaning of the inside of the
building in preparation for painting, and
water-blasting of the outside.
The following weekend will see the
painting of inside concrete walls and the
sealing of the exterior.
“Over the last two weekends of
September, it is our intention to apply
two coats of paint to the outside,’’
Mr O’Donnell said. “ This will see the
completion of stage one and then we can
start planning for the replacement of the
“I just hope that the incoming District
Council will see the merit in maintaining
a facility such as the Civic Centre. It’s just
too good to be allowed to fall apart,” Mr
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