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Recession on the Coast
WEST COAST FEATURE
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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2014
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A scientist from the National
Institute of Water and Atmospheric
Research (Niwa) was in Punakaiki
recently assessing erosion that
is eating into the Buller District
Council-owned camping ground.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard
said the problem was “under
investigation”. Although a number
of homes and baches are protected
by a seawall, it stops just before
the camping ground. “It’s certainly
something we have got a close eye
on,” Mr Howard said. “ It ’s really
been over the past two months.”
He noted the cost of extending the
seawall would be significant. About
20 households currently fund the
$600,000 wall and its maintenance,
and also share costs of $45,000
a year, before normal rates. The
West Coast Regional Council is
responsible for flood protection
works through rating districts,
and planning and environment
manager Mike Meehan said a
Niwa scientist had been asked to
look at the erosion problem. “ His
initial comments were it was not
substantial,” Mr Meehan said.
Mostly cloudy, drizzle
Greymouth Star On-line
British students are being
encouraged to urinate in the shower
to save water. The campaign, called
gowiththeflow, has been dreamed
up by Debs Torr and Chris Dobson
at the University of East Anglia
in Nor wich. They hope to get all
15,000 students at the university to
take part — and are asking them to
declare their habits on Twitter and
Facebook. “ We’ve done the maths,
and this project stands to have a
phenomenal impact,” Dobson said.
“ With 15,000 students at UEA, over
a year we would save enough water
to fill an Olympic-sized swimming
pool 26 times over.” — PA
Rockfall worr y
as Sth Westland
Engineers have been brought in to
assess the steep Fox Glacier valley as
the retreating ice increases the risk of
Fox is currently the closer glacier for
people on foot, with a stunning, elevated
Towards the end, the track hugs the
side of a cliff, dotted with Department
of Conser vation warning signs telling
people not to linger.
Conser vation ser vices manager Wayne
Costello said rockfalls could be a
challenge in the Fox Valley.
Rockfall activity had increased earlier
this year, although the last actual fall
was in July.
In the past, as the glacier advanced
and scraped the sides of the valley it
had fractured the rock, and now as it
retreated those fractured walls were
DOC staff regularly assessed the risk
of rockfalls, and closed that section of
track whenever it rained, Mr Costello
It had also requested engineering
advice after spotting “a little bit of
rockfall at the side of the track”.
“It’s reason for concern. ”
Currently, there is no guiding on foot
from the valley on to the ice. Instead,
visitors have to be flown on, similar to
Franz Josef Glacier.
The Fox Glacier guiding company,
Alpine Guides, has recently asked to
increase flight numbers, and this is
currently being considered by DOC.
Fox Glacier’s northern twin, Franz
Josef, is proving easier to manage, partly
due to the shape of the valley.
DOC staff have moved the viewpoint
past the moraine which had blocked the
way for the past two summers.
The current path actually crosses
over the ice, but it is buried under the
moraine. As it melts, DOC staff have to
fill holes left in the path above.
“ We don’t have the big high moraines
(at Franz) ... we don’t quite have that
same level of issue,” Mr Costello said.
The South Westland glaciers last
advanced in 2008-09 but since then
they have lost 500m in length and the
rate of retreat is not slowing.
Marine reserve sign ‘wrong’
A keen angler says the
Department of Conservation sign
erected on the beach at Punakaiki
declaring the new marine reser ves
is in the wrong place.
David Brooks, of Taylorville, said
that as a result of the ‘wrongly’
placed sign he had been grilled
by people who thought he was
breaking the rules.
However, DOC says the sign
is there to show people the
During earlier consultation when
the Punakaiki marine reser ve was
being set up, it was agreed that
two areas would be excluded in the
middle, so people could continue to
fish recreationally from the beach,
The main one, off McMillan
Road, leads to the Razorback, also
known as Morrisons beach.
But when Mr Brooks turned
up at that spot last month he
was surprised to see a large sign
spanning several metres, which he
said implied that fishing
was not allowed. When
he returned to fish again
recently, two people
approached him to ask
why he was fishing there.
A third he came across
believed he was not
allowed to fish there.
Mr Brooks has called
for the sign to be moved,
or a sticker placed on top
of it clarifying the situation.
“I will continue to fish there. It ’s
the law — they (DOC) need to get
While technically correct, the
sign was misleading and the map
did not actually say that fishing was
allowed in a lighter coloured area.
The DOC website also says fishing
is allowed at the ‘river mouth’,
rather than the beach.
DOC spokeswoman Trish Grant
said marine reserve signs had
been placed at strategic access
points to inform people where
the boundaries were, and what the
rules were for those reser ves.
“The signs have a large map on
them showing the boundaries with
a ‘you are here’ pointer showing the
location of each so that people are
aware of the boundaries in relation
to that location. “
“The map on the sign off
McMillan Road with the ‘you are
here’ pointer on it clearly shows
this is alongside one of the areas
that can be fished,” Ms Grant said.
The sign helped ensure people
were aware of the exact boundaries
of the marine reserve and the
fishing areas so they did not
inadvertently fish inside the marine
reserve, she said.
Battle for boat ramp
The Greymouth Fishing Club has
bemoaned the lack of action with a
new boat ramp for the Blaketown
In June, after submitting to the
Grey District Council annual plan
on the state of the current ramp the
club was granted $30,000 towards
a new one.
However, fishing club secretary-
treasurer Sharron Wright said it
was going nowhere.
“This has been going on for nine
years,” Mrs Wright said.
They had had “umpteen meetings”
with the council over the years but
no progress was being made, and
now she was not sure how much
longer the rundown ramp would
“Another flood would do it,
whether it’s tomorrow, 12 months
or two years. That would take it out.
It would wash away whatever we
put under there.”
Without the boat ramp it could
mean the end of the popular King
Kahawai competition, she said.
“ We want to move for ward, we
want something to happen.”
They had ruled out an alternative
site at Cobden because the
intersection at Bright Street was
too dangerous to get across with
a boat, and there was not enough
The club had
beautifying the lagoon area, which
Mrs Wright said had the potential
to be a hub of activity.
“The Grey River is such an asset
to our town, it could have so many
activities on there. The fishing club
would like to be involved but we
can’t get our boats in the water. ”
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said they
were still to decide where the ramp
“ It ’s not going to happen
overnight, but we are on that
journey,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
He acknowledged the council
needed to sit down with the fishing
club and others to find the best site,
and then price it.
But he did not want to rule out
“ We don’t want to eliminate
anything, we want the best place to
have a ramp for the next 100 years.”
The ramp did not need to be in
Blaketown, he said.
“ What people want is a good
ramp. No one stays in the lagoon,
it ’s only there for the ability to put
the boat in. ”
Mr Kokshoorn said $30,000
would not be enough and
fundraising would need to be done,
“This is not about one group
doing everything, this is about the
community doing it. ”
PICTURE: Laura Mills
The path to the viewing platform at Fox Glacier is marked with warning signs.
The Department of Conservation says rockfall is “going to be a challenge in the
Engineers assess safety at Fox Glacier
Grey district councillor Tony Coll pips Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn, West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor
and Gary Cumming during the men in heels race last
night, part pf the the Mackay Street Mile event.
Mr Coll, with taped up heels, proved to be the most adept
in his new footwear to win the race, beating Mr Kok-
shoorn in a maid’s outfit, a leggy Mr O’Connor and Mr
Cumming in a nurse’s costume, offering plenty of humour
for the crowd.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
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