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Saving Greymouth’s heritage buildings
WEST COAST FEATURE
A controversial bid to take away
most catering from Grey Base
Hospital, possibly trucking in
frozen meals from Christchurch, is
gaining ground. Health Minister
Jonathan Coleman said this week
the Government was considering
options for moving to the
implementation stage of the DHB
shared ser vices programme under
Health Benefits Ltd. The business
cases on finance and procurement,
laundry, national IT infrastructure,
and food ser vices had been
developed, Mr Coleman said.
Coast ATC cadet
joins WW1 parade
will join 150
from ATC units
all around New
Zealand in a
through the streets of Wellington
tomorrow as part of the 100th
commemorations of the start of
World War One. Logan will be
representing the No 36 (Greymouth)
Squadron at the commemorations.
Squadron leader, unit commander
Peter McIntosh said Logan was
looking forward to the parade, and
would be a great representative
for the West Coast. A parade will
be held through the streets of
Greymouth on Tuesday as part of
Armistice Day commemorations,
culminating in a short ceremony at
the Greymouth cenotaph.
Britain’s Girl Guides are at the
centre of a sexism row after being
told they can no longer wash cars to
raise funds. The ban was introduced
in case girls damaged the vehicles
they were working on, leading to
the possibility of compensation
claims against the organisation. But
scouts are still encouraged to clean
vehicles in return for payment, as
they have done for decades. Former
guides expressed their surprise at
the decision, saying there should be
no distinction between the sexes.
Tv presenter Sue Cook said: “I’m
amazed to hear that car washing
is prohibited for guides. I can’t
think what the rationale for that
can be in this day and age. My
daughter earned money in the
school holidays as a young teenager
by car washing. If it’s okay for the
boys, how can it not be okay for the
girls?”— Daily Mail
A leading conser vationist who has
been meeting quietly with West Coast
leaders this week about the prospect of
life after coal, says there is a real thirst
In May, the Coal Action Network
released the report ‘Jobs After Coal’,
partly written by conser vationist
It said that around the world, the coal
industry was contracting, prices had
fallen and demand shifting to renewable
“Coal is a sunset industry,” the report
Ms Penwarden and former Green
Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons were on
the Coast this week for a low key visit,
meeting council leaders and people in
the health sector.
“ Miners and mining communities have
borne the brunt of coalmining closures.
Mining will always be boom and bust,”
Ms Fitzsimons told the Greymouth Star.
“ It doesn’t have to be like that.
“(But) we are not here to tell the Coast
what to do. ”
Any solution would involve councils,
businesses and people, and would be
slow and painful, but the result would be
Ms Fitzsimons said they had found
the region’s leaders were more open to
alternatives to coal than they expected.
“There’s a real thirst for alternatives.
Far greater numbers of people see a
future beyond coal than we imagined.
We are encouraged that a lot of people
on the Coast are starting to think about
a more sustainable future.”
The Jobs After Coal report found
that only two mining communities in
the entire country had higher median
incomes than their surrounding
district — Orowaiti, on the outskirts of
Westport, and Greymouth South.
Despite at least 1000 job losses, mostly
at Spring Creek and Stockton, “it is
worth noting that none of the jobs
lost, suddenly and with no attempt at a
transition, have been for environmental
or climate change reasons. All have been
determined by the company in response
to market conditions”.
“This is a high-risk industry for
West Coast coal depended on the
world coking coal market for steel
making. That market had been severely
affected by China’s recently announced
plan for energy consumption to peak
at four billion tonnes of coal equivalent
within the current five-year plan. China
was recycling so using less coking coal in
Citizens in a number of countries were
pressuring their pension funds to divest
from fossil fuels and some are doing so.
The report suggests that as a way
for ward, even the West Coast, which
was not a major plantation forestry
region, currently had enough forestry
residue going to waste, to replace 18,000
tonnes of coal. That could employ people
as well as supplying heat to schools and
plantings or solar energy could all
be part of the solution. Training in
energy efficiency for homes could lead
to an industry retrofitting business,
commercial and local government
buildings, which could grow into a
whole energy efficiency industry.
“The sooner we prepare for a future
where mining towns can determine their
own paths without dependence on the
vagaries of a dying industry, the better,”
the report concluded.
After 49 years working for the
West Coast District Health Board
as a home help, 87-year-old Val
Gladstone has left, but not for
retirement — she has her eye out
for new employment.
Mrs Gladstone, of Runanga,
started work at the old Greymouth
Hospital as a ward maid while just
a teenager. In those days they put
dried tea leaves on the floors of the
She later became a home help and
held the position for 49 years.
“I worked for one Runanga family
for 30 years,” Mrs Gladstone said
this week. “ I was like one of the
A few changes have been made
to the home help ser vice she is
unhappy with, so she decided it was
time to move on.
She talks warmly of all her clients,
especially one who left her a card
saying ‘happy birthday to my best
“Everyone I’ve worked for, I’ve
With five children, nine
grandchildren and eight great-
grandchildren, Mrs Gladstone will
be busy. She and husband Stan have
lived in the same house almost all
of their adult life, though the wider
family is scattered.
She says she does not feel her 87
years: “I’ve always done what I’ve
always done, I don’t feel it ”.
Mrs Gladstone hopes to pick up
some more work.
“ I love working, I’ll need to find
something to do. ”
Job hunting at 87
Tourism West Coast chief executive
Jim Little expects the region to be
“chock full” this summer and hopes the
pressure on accommodation will force
travellers on to other towns.
Although the average guest night
on the West Coast is currently just
over one night, Mr Little has big
expectations for this summer.
“I don’t know if they will spend
more nights, but the West Coast is
going to be very busy,” he said. Tour
companies were currently organising
“There are a lot of bookings going
on as companies try to secure
accommodation for the new year.
February and March are going to be
chock full.” One tour company he had
spoken to said forward bookings were
“the strongest they have been in years”.
The tour companies would probably
independent travellers to look
elsewhere. Mr Little hoped this meant
that, although the glaciers were a
popular attraction, tourists may move
on to stay in other areas.
“It will create opportunities to spread
accommodation further afield, not just
in glacier country. There is going to be
a lot of pressure on the accommodation
sector. It is all good news.” He expected
operators would reap a “reasonable
yield” to get through winter.
“If it goes as we suspect it will, it will
all help people get through.”
They would also be helped by
‘shoulder’ seasons extending through to
April and May.
“ With growth in the Indian market.
It is the height of their summer, when
Delhi is 42degC — you want to get out
of the place.”
That was good for the West Coast,
Mr Little said.
“ We have gone through some rough
years ... there is a slump in mining, the
dairy price is predicted to be down, but
tourism has gone up — swings and
Franz Josef Community Association
chairman Craig Rankin, who operates
and Glenfern Villas, said generally it
was looking “very bright ” for summer.
“Over Christmas and New Year most
places will be close to booked out,”
Mr Rankin said. Based on last year’s
numbers, forward bookings were up.
“The three weeks between mid-
December and mid-January are very
full, so that ’s really good. The other bits
traditionally take a bit longer to fill up.”
Mr Rankin said Franz Josef had had
a quieter winter than they would have
“Barring any road issues, we really
expect a good summer, hopefully better
than last year, which was up on the
West Coast summer tourism bookings ‘chock full’
The Fire Ser vice and business leaders
are joining forces for a huge one-off
working bee in central Greymouth.
The business, community groups
and Grey District Council will all be
pitching in to tidy up the town centre
on Tuesday, just in time for the start
of the holiday season.
The Greymouth Motorcycle Street
Race organisers and students from
Greymouth High School undertook
a small clean-up prior to the races
and this event hopes to build on their
Working bee co-ordinator Cr
Murray Hay has arranged for the Fire
Ser vice to provide water and is keen to
hear from anyone who would like to
assist with people-power, equipment
or any other resources.
Other councillors will also be rolling
up their sleeves working around the
Cobden Bridge, Smith Street and
Promotions Association is on
board with the project, asking its
members to pitch-in and to get their
neighbouring businesses involved.
The Greymouth CBD renewal
sur veys, run by the council, have
indicated some ‘quick wins’ to make
the CBD a nicer place.
The council has already had
contractors clean the park in Albert
Street as a result of community
To register interest in the working
bee, contact the Grey District
Working bee to clean up Greymouth CBD
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