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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
star’s new face
eludes sniffer dog
A police sniffer dog team was
called but failed to track down the
firebug who set tyres alight in scrub
at Cobden last night. The Cobden
Volunteer Fire Brigade attended
the blaze, in an open area in the
vicinity of McKane Place and Firth
Street, about 9pm. The police were
subsequently called to investigate.
Constable Mike Tinnelly said the
dog was brought in but was unable
to find the culprit. Inquiries were
continuing today. Meanwhile,
Queenstown police caught up with
a young man who has admitted to
stealing diesel from the Greymouth
area. He admitted his part in a spate
of thefts across the South Island
in the past few weeks — including
on the West Coast. Police were
still keen to hear of any unreported
thefts of diesel in the area in recent
weeks, Mr Tinnelly said.
Light catches fire
The Hokitika Volunteer Fire
Brigade put out at a small fire at
the Hokitika Veterinary Centre last
night. Fire chief Harry Collett said
the fire, about 5.30pm, was caused
by an overheated light fitting. Vet
staff were present at the time and
the fire was easily extinguished.
A fraudster who pretended to
be in a coma for two years was
caught by police going on shopping
trips and holidays with his family.
Conman Alan Knight of Swansea,
South Wales, faked being in a
vegetative state after he scammed
his next door neighbour out of
£40,000. The 47-year-old tried to
beat justice by claiming he was a
quadriplegic — his family said he
was hooked up to oxygen and had
no movement from the neck down.
But a court heard he was caught out
after CCTV captured him walking
around Tesco and driving his car
to Dorset. Knight was then hauled
before Swansea Crown Court
where he admitted scamming the
pensioner who lived next door to
him out of thousands of pounds.
— Daily Mail
Few showers, frequent by evening
New bridge next to old one
The new Taramakau Bridge
will be built close to the existing
road-rail bridge, the New
Zealand Transport Agency
NZTA transport planning
manager Michael Blyleven told
the West Coast Regional Land
Transport Committee it would
be at least three years before
the replacement bridge, costing
$10 million to $15 million, was
A contract for the design was
being drafted and would be
going to the market shortly.
“That will probably be a
12-month process to get that
design complete, then we need
to assess where that gets to
progress into construction. The
construction will be an 18-month
to two-year period, so it’ll be at
least three years before we see a
new bridge,” Mr Blyleven said.
would probably be less than 30m
downstream from the existing
125-year-old bridge. Land, most
of which belonged to Kiwi Rail,
would need to be purchased for
the new structure, he said.
An overbridge will be built
across the railway line on the
south bank, to reconnect with
the existing State highway.
When the new bridge was
announced, just before the
general election, the site was
suggested as being closer to the
mouth of the Taramakau River,
providing a straight line from
Camerons through to Serpentine.
Mr Blyleven said yesterday the
design would look to incorporate
a facility for cyclists and
pedestrians. He gave the example
of the recently completed Waitaki
Bridge in Kurow, near Oamaru,
which had a wide pathway next
to the roadway.
In the meantime, NZTA was
moving for ward with a cycling
clip-on to the existing bridge,
with construction to start in
April or May next year.
Mr Blyleven told the meeting
they had had a “second look at
the bridge clip-on, particularly
with a new bridge coming”.
“Do you still need these clip-
ons, because a new bridge is
going to be here in a few years
With increasing numbers of
cyclists using the West Coast
Wilderness Trail, the agency
was “absolutely convinced” that a
clip-on was warranted, he said.
It would be attached to the
downstream side of the existing
bridge as Kiwi Rail had identified
that was structurally better.
However, he said once the new
bridge had been completed, Kiwi
Rail was keen for the NZTA to
remove the clip-on and to re-use
it somewhere else.
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
The proposed new Taramakau River road bridge will be sited just 30m downstream of the current road-rail bridge — about where the vehicles can be seen parked
on the south bank.
A 48-year-old West Coast man
was this morning jailed for 12
months after admitting doing an
indecent act on a child.
Juan Mandac changed his plea
midway through a judge-alone
trial in the Greymouth District
Court this week, having initially
denied seven charges of doing
an indecent act on a child, one
charge of doing an indecent
act on a young person and one
of making an intimate visual
Mandac was discharged on one
charge of doing an indecent act
on a young person, while the
other not guilty charges were
withdrawn by the prosecution.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said
today the offending involved
Mandac inappropriately touching
the victim, and getting the victim
to inappropriately touch him. The
offences occurred between May
1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
Judge O’Driscoll said the sexual
abuse of children was always
regarded by the court as serious.
“It can rob them of their
childhood, they can become
scared, frightened and confused,
and it can have long-lasting
psychological and emotional
consequences for the children.”
Mandac had abused the trust of
the children, who were vulnerable
because of his position as an
adult, compared to their position
In mitigation, the judge
said Mandac had no previous
convictions, had entered a belated
guilty plea and had offered to
pay reparation of $5000 to the
victim’s family for the emotional
harm caused by his offending.
However, as a result of his earlier
not guilty plea, two of the alleged
victims on the earlier charges had
to “relive” the alleged offending
by watching their inter views and
giving evidence in court. It was
also put to them during the trial
that they were wrong or were not
telling the truth.
“My impression is that they are
both brave young children who
are clearly telling the truth. That ’s
been reinforced by your guilty
plea,” Judge O’Driscoll said.
The judge said the starting
point for sentence was 18 months
in prison, however he reduced
the final sentence to 12 months
because of the mitigating factors.
Mandac was also ordered to pay
$5000 in reparation.
Rolleston petitions against factory
A Rolleston man who has started
a petition against the pending 1080
poison bait plant on his doorstep and
close to a primary school, has already
gathered more than 1500 signatures.
Jonathan Scott ’s on-line petition
against the factory — half owned by
the West Coast Regional Council — is
worded: ‘Refuse consent for a pesticide
factory producing 1080 poison, in
the Izone, Rolleston’. The petition is
directed at the Selwyn District Council.
Mr Scott said he was concerned a
“hazardous chemical plant ” could be
located on his doorstep.
“It is about 600m away from the local
primary school, and in direct line of
sight from the prevailing north-west
wind. Anything would blow straight
across to the primary school in town,”
Mr Scott said.
The main water race down the
main street flowed past the industrial
subdivision, across the gate of the
school, past a kindergarten and partly
through a dog park.
He asked why the council, as 49%
shareholder, was not constructing the
plant “in your own backyard to create
The petition is also concerned about
what it says is a risk to the factory
employees, as well as anyone keeping
The Greymouth Star understands
the Christchurch-based director of the
joint venture with the regional council,
Pest Control Research, has received
death threats since the story broke.
Selwyn District Council environ-
Christensen said that in March it
approved a building consent for a
warehouse facility, but it did not identify
the specific activities to be undertaken
at the site.
The building consent application, as
submitted, complied with District Plan
requirements, Mr Christensen said.
The council had not received a
resource consent application for the
manufacturing of 1080 poison.
If the property owner wished to use
the premises for manufacturing 1080, or
storage of significant quantities of 1080,
they would be required to apply for a
resource consent. That would include
conditions to ensure that any operation
involving hazardous substances was
managed to minimise the risk of
environmental or health impacts.
The owner would also need to meet
any requirements of other regulatory
agencies relating to the manufacture or
storage of the material (for example, the
Environmental Protection Authority).
“The council will be contacting the
property owners ... to advise them of
the District Plan requirements for
hazardous substances,” he said.
Loud explosions heard reverberating
around the Grey Valley yesterday appear
to be the result of a military exercise
conducted by the army.
Nelson Creek resident Emma Daly
said she heard five large explosions
throughout the day which sounded as
if they were “echoing off ” the Paparoa
Range, across the valley.
Other people from the area also
reported hearing the explosions.
Ms Daly said it was a bit mysterious as
her sister-in-law in Ahaura reported the
same explosions as sounding very close to
“It just seemed really weird because
they were big explosions,” Ms Daly said.
Mandy Hodgetts, of Ahaura Transport,
reported a similar experience, hearing
and feeling three explosions throughout
the day. Ordinarily, one explosion in the
area in a day would not require a second
thought but repeated explosions made
her sit up and take notice, including a
couple that rocked the building.
“It was definitely very loud here. I was
what it was,” Mrs Hodgetts said.
The New Zealand Defence Force
notified several weeks ago it would be
conducting an exercise in the Paparoa
Forest between October 10 and 24.
The exercise includes live firing in the
Moonlight and Caledonian Creek area,
blank firing in the vicinity of Snowy
Road, and high explosives training
throughout the area. No one from the
Defence Force was available to comment.
Grey Valley big bang mystery solved
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