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The new $67 million Grey Base
Hospital will be built to optimise views
of the sea and should open in early
2017, the West Coast District Health
Board has announced.
About 50 people attended a public
briefing in Greymouth last night.
The board unveiled concept pictures
which show a three and a half storey
building positioned to the north of the
current hospital buildings, on the site of
the old nurses hostel and tennis courts.
The new hospital was being designed
to be “as flexible as possible” for
changing health ser vice need, chief
executive David Meates said.
A key difference would be the absence
of long corridors characteristic of the
The new building was expected to
last about 50 years and would comprise
clinical and inpatient ser vices with an
integrated family health centre on the
upper part of the current site.
It will include about 60 inpatient beds;
three operating theatres; outpatient,
GP, and primary health facilities; and
a rebuild of mental health facilities
within the next five years. Ser vice
areas for the new building were likely
to be closer to Water Walk Road, the
meeting was told.
Details such as car parking and
internal configuration and cladding of
the new building were still to be worked
Mr Meates said design work required
several more stages of detailed planning.
However, the board was optimistic it
would be appointing a builder by the
middle of 2015, with construction
expected to be under way by the later
half of next year.
All going well, commissioning would
be under way by the beginning of 2017
with the hospital opened early that year.
Mr Meates was at pains to emphasise
that 50 clinicians were “actively involved
and engaged” in the project planning.
Getting the “right mix and balance”
for a new building was important in
winning Crown support.
“There is not such thing as free capital.
The district health board finances the
“ We need to ser vice that within our
overall funding package.”
Mr Meates said cost-escalation was
built into the project, but he did not
outline specific costs or the possibility
of having to rely on a public-private
partnership to finance the build.
“One of the beautiful parts of this is I
won’t have most of the answers,” he said
at the outset of the briefing.
In response to a question about the
tsunami risk at the current site, Mr
Meates said a number of sites had been
assessed for the new hospital.
Architect Adam Flowers said the
West Coast Regional Council was
being consulted and the Ministry of
Health had commissioned a further
study about the tsunami risk.
more than PM
The head of the West Coast
District Health Board earns
more than the Prime Minister,
new figures show. State Ser vices
Commissioner Iain Rennie ysterday
released annual pay details of State
ser vices chief executives for the
year ended June 30. Health board
chief executive David Meates took
home $560,000 to $569,999, up on
last year when his salary band was
$530,000 to $539,000. Tai Poutini
Polytechnic chief executive Alan
Sargison was in the $250,000 to
Four small earthquakes around
Reefton since early Wednesday
morning are “nothing to be
concerned about ”, a seismologist
from GNS Science says. There were
two earthquakes on Wednesday,
a light shake of 3.8, 10km east of
the township at 2.29am, then a
2.9 earthquake 10km east of the
township at 11.01pm. Yesterday
two small earthquakes, a 3.4 at
4.32am and 2.8 earthquake at
1.29pm, were also recorded. GNS
seismologist John Ristau said “you
have quakes fairly often, you get a
flurry of activity in an area, then it
very quickly dies off ”. “You are in an
area which is very seismically active
to begin with, it’s nothing unusual,
nothing to be concerned about ... it ’s
really quite normal.”
Police arrested a 23-year-old
Westport man yesterday for
allegedly supplying a class A drug.
Joshua Clement Duncan appeared
in the Greymouth District Court
this morning. He was charged
with supplying methamphetamine,
possession of a pipe for smoking
methamphetamine, two charges
of receiving stolen property, and
being in possession of ammunition.
Duncan was remanded in custody
to reappear in court on Monday.
Mainly fine, light winds
A bus that runs entirely on human
waste and food scraps has started up
in England. The ‘poo bus’ between
Bristol and Bath fills up on waste
from the Bristol sewage works and
runs on biomethane gas created by
the treatment of sewage and other
waste. The bus can travel 300km on
a full tank, which is the equivalent
of a year of waste from five people.
— Circular magazine
GRAPHIC: Courtesy of the West Coast District Health Board
The new hospital is on the site of the old tennis courts and nurses hostel. This
view looks south along Water Walk Road.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Caroline McQuarrie with a some of the photographs that make up her exhibition No Town, which opens at the Left Bank Art Gallery tonight at
6 o’clock. McQuarrie, now based in Wellington, grew up in Greymouth and spent two and a half years researching and visiting sites where
communities sprung up due to gold or coal, and vanished when the resources ran out. The exhibition of photography and embroidery shows several
abandoned sites today and explore the communities that have been lost. She will give a talk about the work tomorrow from 11.30am-12.30pm. The
exhibition is in Greymouth until January 24.
No Town exhibition
‘Electrical event ’ likely cause of fatal fire
An “electrical event ” in the
switchboard of a Kaniere sleepout
was the “most likely cause” of a fatal
fire which killed a 24-year-old man
in May 2013, a coroner has ruled.
In his report into the death of
Benjamin Graham McBride, which
was released this morning, coroner
David Crerar ruled that there was
no evidence available “that the fire
was created by any means other than
Mr Crerar said that an examination
of the building, described in evidence
as a sleepout, garage or shed, had
indicated that there had been
“signifiant electrical activity” in the
vicinity of the building ’s electrical
switchboard “to cause the welding
together and total separation of
some sections of wiring”.
“Therefore the most likely cause
of the fire was an electrical event or
events of some description which
led to an overheating of the wiring
componentry in the area of the
Mr Crerar said that at the time
of his death, Mr McBride had
been living with his partner, Rene
Johnson, and their two daughters
in Kaniere. On May 25 McBride
returned to a building at the
property after drinking at a nearby
hotel. Earlier in the evening Mr
McBride had been drinking with a
friend, Simon Gill, at the sleepout,
which had a small bar located in it.
After finishing all the beer the
pair had available, they got onto
Mr McBride’s quad bike and rode
400m to the nearby Kaniere Hotel.
The pair carried on drinking, later
returning to the sleepout with more
beer. About 10 minutes later Mr Gill
walked back to his home, leaving his
friend alone in the sleepout.
About 4.19am, Ms Johnson was
woken by an explosion and saw
an orange glow coming from the
sleepout, but was unable to enter
because of the extent of the fire.
Evidence from Ms Johnson said that
the building contained paint, a big
drum of chlorine for the spa pool, a
petrol tank and petrol cans.
A statement from Mr Gill said
that he and Mr McBride had also
smoked a joint during the course of
the evening. Mr Gill referred to Mr
McBride finding a light bulb and
being surprised when it worked on
being inserted into a socket.
“Other witnesses ... all described
the sleepout-shed, its contents and
specifically the electrical supply and
connections. They all acknowledged
that the shed was messy and that the
containers of chemicals, petrols and
oils were stored in it.”
A fire investigation report ruled
out the fire being started by Mr
McBride smoking cigarettes, due to
the “relative lack of burning to the
The victim had a blood alcohol
level of 171 mg of alcohol per 100ml
of blood when he died, alongside 0.9
mcg of THC, the active ingredient
The West Coast District Health Board
will spend $50,000 fixing the roof at
Grey Base Hospital, ahead of a $67
The roofing membrane on the
McBrearty block, wards three and four
and the Community Ser vices building
all need repairs, as the membrane is
In a report, chief executive David
Meates said the roof had long exceeded
its design life and was well overdue for
total replacement of both the membrane
and some of the structural elements.
It will spend $50,000 to fix the failing
parts of the existing membrane with a
liquid rubber product.
It will be applied over the summer
months by maintenance staff “and
should enable us to keep the roof water
tight for two to three years during
the rebuild period, albeit with some
regular application of the product when
The board also said it was close to
appointing engineers to do more
detailed infrastructure planning for the
A Greymouth learner driver
who crashed into a car, mounted
a kerb and forced pedestrians to
run for cover while fleeing from
police was fined $600 and banned
from driving for six months for
dangerous driving and failing
to stop on November 28, in the
Greymouth District Court, this
Claudia Jane Francis Martin, 20,
was driving in Greymouth with
four drunk passengers when she
was spotted by a passing police car
which turned around to pursue her.
swer ving over the road and forcing
pedestrians to flee for cover.
Martin eventually crashed but
carried on driving until she spun
the car 180 degrees and came to
rest after mounting a kerb.
Lawyer Andrew Bailey said that
Martin had been encouraged to
evade police by the drunk friends
in her car.
$50,000 for fix roof District Court
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