Home' Greymouth Star : October 18th 2014 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Glory days of West Coast steam
WEST COAST FEATURE
Grey Hospital takes
Threats dry up
No West Coast Regional Council
staff members have been threatened
by the public since they started
wearing cameras when making
site visits. In May, compliance and
consents manager Jackie Adams
reported that he had bought three
cameras costing $2000 for his
staff to wear when they visited
potentially hostile members of
the public. He said last week they
would only wear the cameras
in certain circumstances. “ If we
know something ... if we have had
people make complaints about
their neighbours and we decide this
person might be very aggressive,
then I’ll get my staff to wear them
as a back-up,” Mr Adams said. The
cameras were also used when staff
were visiting sites where there had
been issues in the past or where
the police might have had to be
involved. They had already proved
their worth to the staff who had
worn them, he said. “ We haven’t
had anybody be aggressive when
the cameras have been turned on.”
The cameras were the same as those
being trialled by the Department of
Corrections, which had seen a 70%
reduction in assaults on staff as a
result of wearing the devices. Mr
Adams said the cameras were also
useful for people being visited by
his staff, as they provided a record
of exactly what happened.
Fine spells, few showers
An American non-profit
organisation has become the first
place to offer volunteers $40 a day
to poo. Open Biome, launched
in 2012, describes itself as a “the
only independent stool bank in
the country” and collects, tests
and provides faecal samples to
hospitals. Although it sounds
positively revolting, Open Biome’s
clients require the samples for
something called faecal microbiota
transplantation: a poo transplant.
“Think of us as a blood bank,
but for poop,” said Mark Smith,
who developed the stool bank.
Mr Smith explains that the
body requires a natural balance
of bacteria in the gut but since
antibiotics kill both ‘good ’ and
‘ bad’ bactera indescriminately, the
balance can be upset. The solution,
apparently, is faecal transplants,
which contain the most reliable
source of good bacteria. Stool
samples can be transplanted
through a colonoscopy, an enema
or — have a bucket ready — a tube
through the nose. — Metro
Twenty-five years after the eight
West Coast councils became four, the
leaders of the day are still divided on
whether it was the right thing to do.
This month in 1989, Dr Barry Dallas
and his councillors posed for one last
picture before the borough council was
At that time the Coast had eight
councils — Buller County, Westport
Borough, Inangahua County, Runanga
Borough, Grey County, Greymouth
Borough, Westland County, and
The old Greymouth borough
boundaries used to stop at Weenink
Road, beyond which was the Grey
county. A remnant of that exists
today — the Greymouth floodwall
rating scheme also runs only as far as
Grey district deputy mayor Doug
Truman is the longest serving local
body politician on the West Coast,
having started in 1968 and at one time
chaired the Grey County Council.
Reflecting on the changes, he
says back then country folk were
“Country folk lost a bit of their
identity. It’s been a learning experience
for the old borough to realise they
got a district, not just a town,” Cr
Truman said. “I think they are doing
that (appreciating it) now. The Kaiaita-
Dobson-Taylorville sewerage scheme
is an appreciation of the importance of
those rural communities.”
Now everyone was “helping each
Durham Havill chaired the former
Westland County Council for six
years, and then became the first
mayor of Westland when the county
amalgamated with the Hokitika
“It certainly was a move in the right
direction. It was just logical,” Mr Havill
“They talk (now) about a unitary
council but that ’s not the correct way
to go. We are too spread out. It ’s the
same distance from one end to the
other as Auckland to Wellington. I
don’t see any advantages going unitary.
Everyone would travel further and the
mileage would go through the roof.”
Pat O’Dea, who was on the Westport
Borough Council at the time of the
1989 amalgamations, became the first
mayor of the Buller district.
He is more critical of the changes of
25 years ago.
“I think the councils of the day were
doing a pretty good job in their own
areas. But you’ve got to move with the
times,” Mr O’Dea said.
The changes were “quite a job at the
Buller until then had Alf Cleaver
heading the Reefton-based Inangahua
County Council, Mr O’Dea as
Westport mayor, and Roger Brookes as
Buller County chairman.
Bob Smithem was the last chairman
of the Grey County Council.
He said Grey County, Hokitika
Borough and the old Westland
Catchment Board had all supported
forming a unitary council for the West
Coast at the time.
“There should have been a unitary
council for the entire West Coast.There
would have been one central point and
service delivery centres where everyone
could go to,” Mr Smithem said.
The Coast did not have the
population, then or now, to justify the
number of elected members and staff
employees, he said.
Current Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn, who started in politics
relatively recently, in 1998, said the
old borough and county system was
unaffordable. Costs only went up, and
in 1989 the West Coast population
was going down, but there were more
costs than ever, due to the likes of the
Resource Management Act. Taking
the next step towards a unitary council
was a big move, but one he believed
would inevitably come one day.
acknowledged there had never been
better collaboration than there was
currently among the three district
councils and the regional council.
“ We are looking at ways to
work together. Tourism, economic
development, rate collection could use
the same computer system.”
Seems Like Only Yesterday, p 8.
Councils ref lect on 25 years since mergers
Karamea is running out of freezer space
in a bumper whitebait season.
However, at the opposite end of the
West Coast, Haast rivers are unusually
quiet, with reports that things had
“fizzled out ” after a flurry of catches
towards the start of the season.
“I have never seen so much whitebait
in the Karamea River,” local resident Ray
“Up here we are running out of freezer
space. I believe the long fine spell and the
warmer water has helped us have such a
He knew of people regularly catching
upwards of 50kg.
“There have been some big shoals in
the river. I’m normally happy catching
3-4 pounds, but instead I’m now getting
7-8lb each time I go out.”
Mr Douglas said catches were so
numerous the price had dropped to $15
a pound in parts of Buller.
Westport whitebaiter Lynley Roberts
said the 2013 season was the worst on
record in Buller, but this season had been
a lot better.
“ We have had some really good weather,
which has helped. The river has been
good and a couple of weeks ago there
were reports of some really big catches.”
However, Moana Kerr from the Curly
Tree Whitebait Company at Haast said
things had been “pretty quiet ”.
“ We are optimistic it will pick up before
the season ends. Everyone expected great
things, but that hasn’t happened,” Mrs
As the weather turned to rain today,
some people were already packing up
and heading home.
“Early on in the season things were
looking very good and there were
reported catches of between 30-50kg,
but it has fizzled out.”
She expected a turnaround in fortunes
closer to Labour Weekend.
“This is how it happens sometimes —
there’s nothing — then bang, it comes,”
Mrs Kerr said.
In Hokitika, veteran whitebaiter Barry
Veale said catches on the Hokitika River
had not been flash so far this season.
“I know there have been good catches
in odd places along the river, but it has
been one of those years — for a start
there was nothing, then there was a bit,
and today the river is in flood so there
will be less over the next couple of days.”
Mr Veale said it was best described as
West Coast Whitebaiters Association
president Des McEnaney said catches
on the Grey River had been relatively
good all season.
“On the Taramakau River, it has been
a stop-start season, but I have heard of
some good catches.”
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Blackball Salami Company owner Phillip Russ shows off his black pudding, which won a gold medal for at the recent Devro New Zealand
Sausage Competition. Mr Russ said it was great to get the recognition. “ We always knew it was good, everyone kept telling us. But to actually get
a gold medal for it is even better.” He was still awaiting feedback from the judges but felt it was high praise and admitted he had not intended on
entering originally. The supreme award winner was former Greymouth butcher Paddy Kennedy for his beef and blue cheese sausages.
Most of the missing tarpaulins
used to cover roofs blown off houses
in Cobden and Blaketown during
the Easter storm have now been
Grey District Council civil defence
emergency management officer Allan
Wilson said two of 10 tarpaulins
held by the council for use in a civil
defence emergency were still missing.
The tarpaulins were distributed
for use at the time of Cyclone Ita,
in April, but had not been returned by
the time the tornado hit Blaketown
on August 2.
“ We have most of them back.
There are still a couple of them still
outstanding,” Mr Wilson said.
The tarpaulins included two house-
sized covers valued at $5500 each,
and eight smaller ones.
Previous publicity had elicited a
good public response with some of
the missing tarpaulins returned, Mr
He had also visited properties or
tried to track down property owners
in an effort to find out where the
covers had gone, although tarpaulins
used during the emergency had
come from other sources besides the
“One of the things we’ve learned
from this is we should actually label
them,” he said.
The council had yet to decide if
it would purchase more covers for
emergency use as it had not resolved
whether it had a role, Mr Wilson
said. “ We don’t have anywhere near
enough tarpaulins for such an event.
But it is a debate whether it is our
role to hold tarpaulins.
“ We will use what we’ve got but
there is no plan at the moment to
purchase any more.”
‘Missing’ cyclone tarps returned
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