Home' Greymouth Star : March 21st 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
WEST COAST FEATURE
Hokitika’s forgotten shame
Power lifters push
limits in Greymouth
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SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
gets a makeover
A lick of paint and better staff
facilities are on the cards for
The Warehouse in Greymouth.
Warehouse head of PR and media
Julia Morton said that as part of the
company ’s five-year, countrywide
programme to modernise about
60 of its standalone stores,
the Greymouth site would be
refurbished in the next few
months. “ The store’s exterior will
be repainted, more energy efficient
lighting will be installed and team
member areas will be renovated. ”
She could not give an estimate of
the cost of the work.
Former Solid Energy chief
executive Don Elder, who resigned
after the coal price plummeted
and the Spring Creek Mine
was mothballed, has a new job
in Canterbury. When Dr Elder
resigned, Prime Minister John
Key called the company “broken”.
According to Dr Elder’s Linked
In profile, the civil engineer is now
working for Canterbury Seismic
Instruments. The company website
lists him as the salesman.
Rain with some heavy falls
Greymouth Star On-line
An eerie small town with a
disease that is causing people to
fall asleep? Sounds like a Stephen
King novel to us. Residents in
Kalachi have been randomly
passing out over the last two years
and no one quite knows why.
More worryingly an expert thinks
the mystery illness could spread,
although we probably should
not panic yet as the village is all
the way in Kazakhstan. “People
exposed to the disease were
marked by identical complaints:
dizziness, weakness, loss of co-
ordination, unconsciousness or
semiconscious state for up to
three days,” said professor Leonid
Rikhvanov, who works at Russia’s
Tomsk Polytechnic University.
If that was not scary enough for
them, the victims can also suffer
hallucinations. — Metro
Grey GP quits due to burnout
After a decade in Greymouth,
High Street Medical Centre owner
Dr J D Naidoo says he is calling it a
day and relinquishing ownership due
A staff syndicate is now considering
privately-owned GP practice, probably
with support from the West Coast
District Health Board to recruit
Dr Naidoo said he was moving to
Auckland to be with his family. He
was leaving Greymouth for health,
professional and family reasons.
“I’ve managed the practice for over 10
years and it ’s been very demanding. I
love what I do and want to preserve my
love, passion and commitment.”
The medical centre has 13 staff,
plus doctors, and over 5000 patients
enrolled on the books.
Dr Naidoo has given April 10 as his
termination date but stressed he was
flexible and would ensure a smooth
transition to the new owner.
He had been in negotiations with the
DHB, which owns the other two GP
clinics in town, for 18 months when
a group of staff members approached
him with an interest in taking over
the business. However, they were
concerned it was too short a time to
“ Yesterday, the (DHB) offered a
solution, it ’s very heartening,” Dr
Naidoo said yesterday.
The board had offered to help the
medical centre staff to secure GPs.
Whether the staff, as potential new
owners, decided to move into the new
integrated family health centre to
adjoin the new Greymouth Hospital,
would be their choice, he said.
Dr Naidoo said his staff had
enjoyed great autonomy, a collegial
environment, and had a sense of
ownership, family and ser vice to the
“I only lasted so long because of their
He thanked the community for their
patience and tolerance when the High
Street surgery had fewer GPs and
longer waiting lists.
“They still showed loyalty and hung
At the end of this month, the practice
will again be short of doctors and he
asked the community for its patience.
He praised the West Coast and its
people: “ The true gold of the West
Coast is the people.”
He hoped patients understood his
reasons for moving on.
“If my patients feel I’m letting them
down or abandoning them, I humbly
apologise. I’ve had a great innings
on the West Coast. I’m leaving with
awesome memories. ”
A 20-tonne digger was used this
week to haul a historic steam shovel
out of the bush near Lake Haupiri,
where it had lain abandoned for more
than 50 years.
The Osgood rail-mounted steam
shovel was recovered on a sledge
by the West Coast Historical and
It now rests on the edge of
the forest, awaiting descent into
the nearby Gloriavale Christian
Community, from where it will be
loaded on to a truck and taken to
The shovel was used by the Ruru-
based Lake Brunner Sawmilling
Company, and when owner Ross
Brownlee finished milling the forest,
the machinery was left behind.
It is one of only three or four rail-
mounted steam diggers remaining in
New Zealand, and was last used in
The tramline at Lake Haupiri was
pulled up in the late 1960s and the
shovel was left abandoned in the bush,
at its last work site.
It ended up as part of the
Department of Conser vation estate,
and DOC in turn agreed that
Shantytown, which has both a steam
train experience and sawmill, could
West Coast Historical and
Mechanical Society chairman Dave
McMillan said they would apply for
funds, and would use volunteers with
a mechanical background to restore
To get it out this week, in parts, they
had to install temporary culverts and
use an excavator.
“Gloriavale has been very good with
the use of machinery,” Mr McMillan
said. “ We need to make a final trip
with a metal detector to make sure we
Built in the United States in 1920,
the machinery is unusual in that it
has three steam engines. It was used
to excavate cuttings, make ledges and
Mr Brownlee picked it up from
Parnassus, just south of Kaikoura,
from the Public Works Department.
DOC history adviser Jim Staton
warned in a preser vation report that it
was only two or three years away from
Restoration as a static display is
estimated to cost $180,000.
PICTURE: Paul Maciulaitis
Sawmilling relic salvaged
Grey Base Hospital is currently fully
staffed with nurses, the latest in a string
of recruitment successes.
For years the West Coast District
Health Board was plagued with staff
shortages, from obstetrics to anaesthetics
In early February, it was revealed that
the anaesthetics department was fully
staffed for the first time in 20 years,
ending the days of flying locums back
and forth between South Africa and
There have also been recruitment
successes in obstetrics and midwifery.
Some of the improvement has been
attributed to the new ‘trans-alpine
health ser vice’, which involves the West
Coast and Canterbury DHBs working
more closely together.
Since January, health board reports
have revealed that nursing at Greymouth
is now fully staffed and that daily staff
meetings were being held to “ensure
appropriate response to changing acuity
and workloads in the wards”.
Work is also commencing on a formal
nursing workforce strategy to “ensure
that the right mix and skill level of
nurses as we plan for ward towards the
new facility (hospital)”.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation
spokeswoman Liz Robinson said it was
the first time she had heard of a fully-
staffed hospital. However, she cautioned
that the workforce was ageing. About
half of nurses were due to retire in the
next 10 to 15 years.
Grey Hospital fully staffed with nurses
for 51 new
The Grey District Council has
identified 51 spots that need to be
changed in order to better direct
people from the Greymouth
central business district to the
Grey River tipheads.
A ‘wayfinding’ plan compiled by
Opus and the council has selected
spots for artworks, planting or
Signs would start at the
Greymouth Railway Station,
offering broad information on
the Grey district for travellers
entering the town.
“One of the main ways to
encourage people to navigate
unfamiliar territory is to give
them the confidence to explore,”
the plan says.
The council also wants to
improve the area through
planting, sheltered seating and
The plan notes that exotic
trees appear to be struggling in
the West Coast conditions and
suggests replacing them with an
“ indigenous signature tree,” more
suited to the local climate.
It says signature planting would
strengthen the area as a key entry
and exit point.
Signs at the start of the West
Coast Wilderness Trail could
include a location map showing
walkways to both the Blaketown
and Cobden breakwaters.
Moving away from the railway
station, signs would be a mix of
directions, location identifiers and
The plan also identifies areas
such as the grassed bank before
the goods shed site, and grass
areas at the Blaketown lagoon
where planting could be done.
Safety issues were noted such
as pedestrian access along the
Blaketown tiphead, and crossing
the railway line to get from the
floodwall to the Cobden Bridge.
At the March council meeting
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said
the wayfinding project would be
expanded to include vehicles.
“One of the most frequent
questions we’ve had for 20 years
here is ‘how do you get to the
breakwaters?’” Mr Kokshoorn
Cr Cliff Sandrey suggested
investigating a smartphone app to
“ keep up with the times”.
The Green Party has called on
the New Zealand Super Fund
to divest their $140 million
investment in coal companies
that are vulnerable to becoming
financially stranded, according
to a damning new report from
The Smith School of Enterprise
and the Environment at Oxford
University has identified the
world’s least efficient and
coal-fired power stations —
assets vulnerable to becoming
The Super Fund has $140m
invested in companies identified
in the report.
“The Super Fund could easily
divest from these companies
today. Not only is there a strong
ethical case to divest from the
most polluting coal companies,
there is also a growing financial
case to divest as well.”
Coal investment decried
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