Home' Greymouth Star : June 9th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
John and Peg McGee
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TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Rates up 3.7%
The Grey District Council last
night set the rate rise for the year
starting July 1 at 3.7%. The Westland
District Council has yet to agree on
a final rise but proposes an overall
increase of 5.5%.
Police chase cycle
Greymouth police have a rogue
motorcyclist in their sights after he
was seen riding on the West Coast
Wilderness Trail, behind Blaketown.
Senior constable Mike Tinnelly
said a black quad bike ripping along
the cycle trail and walkway had
been reported to police in the past
week. There had been a number of
complaints from the Blaketown
public and police wanted people to
keep phoning in when they heard or
saw the young motorcyclist, who was
described as a real nuisance. “ We’re
going to catch that little toerag,” Mr
Top 10 beach
Distinctive red AA signs at Bruce
Bay informing visitors the beach
there was voted in the top 10 of New
Zealand beaches last year have gone
missing. Senior constable Robin
Manera, of Haast police, said one
of the signs had been missing for a
while but the other went missing on
Heavy rain turns to showers, hail
Two nuns became stuck in a lift
at a convent in Italy and despite
praying the rosary and calling
for help, there was no divine
intervention. But they say God
works in mysterious ways and it
was a humble cleaning lady who
raised the alarm after her calls to the
Marist convent went unanswered.
She called the police who rescued
the praying pair nearly three full
days after they entered the lift.
They were taken to hospital and
treated for dehydration. The nuns
— a 58-year-old Irish woman and
a 68-year-old New Zealander —
were trapped in the lift all weekend
without food or water. The lift
became stuck after an electrical
power failure. — D PA
Former Grey District Council
liquor licensing inspector Alan
O’Connell has a new role as
commissioner of the Grey District
Licensing Committee. The council
thanked outgoing chairman Neil
Ellery for his work, while noting
that Mr O’Connell was the ideal
Mystery ball object traced to old mines
The rusty mine lookalike
unearthed from the Grey River
shingle pit near Kaiata has been
identified — and it is not of an
explosive nature, but a device used
in old coalmines.
Former coalminer Les Mathieson
identified the mystery object,
uncovered by Westroads worker
Chris Chamberlain and featured in
the Greymouth Star yesterday.
“As soon as I saw the paper I said ‘I
know what that thing is — it ’s a pig
which was used in the old Blackball
Mine,’” Mr Mathieson said.
“O ld Charlie Q uibell was a shift
man at the Blackball mine and
when I was a young fellow he told
me how they used the metal balls,
or pigs, to clear the water pipes in
the mine. The water seeping into
the Blackball Mine was very acidic
and a form of sulphuric acid would
react with the sandstone and build
up deposits in the pipes.
“The pigs, as they were known,
were various sizes and were forced
down the pipes under pressure to
clear away the deposits and then
passed into the Paparoa Creek.
“The mine would retrieve the pigs
each time but the one in the paper
must have escaped and ended up
in the Grey River,” Mr Mathieson
However, Blaketown man Bob
Dowie said he believed the ball was
once used to crush gold bearing
quartz and may have come from
an operation in the Snowy River,
beyond Ikamatua, or another
operation where a ball mill was
used in the Waiuta area.
Oceana Gold used a similar
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Building contractor Phil Wilkins, left, and Greymouth Municipal Band Hall project manager Wayne Russell at the new band hall site this
morning on the corner of Steer Avenue and Reid Street, Blaketown. It replaces the old Blaketown Hall, which was demolished by Cyclone Ita on
April 17 last year. A replacement is being built for $600,000 and is expected to be completed in less than 12 weeks. “Logistics were far too difficult
to build on the old site,” Mr Russell said. The band had raised $50,000 towards the rebuilding project, with the insurance payout from the old hall
providing the rest of the funding. “ The hall is 20m by 12m with a 12m hall section with a couple of offices and a storage section. Once completed it
will be a great asset and facility, and it certainly profiles Blaketown from its new corner location.”
New band hall follows cyclone
Discontent over the cost of the new
Greymouth sports stadium boiled over
at the Grey District Council meeting
last night, with most councillors saying
a $1 million upgrade of the central
business district should not proceed
until the stadium was up.
Only $100,000 is left of the $700,000
contingency fund allowed for the
Westland Recreation Centre, under
construction next to the aquatic centre.
Building on the historic dump site at
the Recreation Ground pushed up the
cost of ground works.
Cr Cliff Sandrey led the charge
last night, saying the $1m set aside
in the long-term plan for upgrading
downtown Greymouth did not fit the
current economic climate.
He was unhappy that reser ve funds
were being used to finance the stadium.
He listed large projects under way, or
upcoming — repairs to the sagging roof
beams at the aquatic centre, dredging
the port, developing a new waste cell at
McLeans Pit landfill, and the stadium.
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the
rate rise was 3.7% and the council
reserves of $9m were better than both
neighbouring councils, Westland ($4m)
and Buller ($2.5m).
Cr Haddock joined the debate and
stuck to his guns, adding that the
Mawhera Incorporation also needed
to be consulted on the central business
He noted that the site identified in the
plans by council staff for a future ‘town
square’ — the old Public Trust building
on the corner of Mawhera Quay and
Tainui Street — was actually privately-
owned and was also on Mawhera
“A ff ord me the courtesy of finishing,”
Cr Haddock said when Mr Kokshoorn
interrupted that they had $770,000 set
aside separate from the reser ves for the
swimming pool beam repairs.
Cr Haddock said they had limited
contingencies for the stadium project.
Other councillors also showed their
Cr Anton Becker said he could not
approve moving ahead with the central
business district spending until the
sports stadium was completed.
Cr Doug Truman said that was a “fair
point ” and Cr Brown added he was also
supportive of the more cautious stance.
Cr Allan Gibson agreed.
The draft long-term plan — which
proposes allowing $1m for the
downtown project — was passed, but
councillors asked that their opposition
to spending the money before the
stadium was completed should be
The council later agreed to put the
plans for the town upgrade out for
public consultation for 30 days.
Burglars targeting Greymouth properties
Greymouth police today warned
property owners to lock up — even
when at home and out in their garden
— after a spate of burglaries.
Senior constable Mike Tinnelly said
a number of incidents in the past 10
days suggested that Greymouth and
district were being targeted at present.
“It looks like we do have a couple of
burglars in town at the moment,” Mr
In the latest incident, the former
Cobden-Kohinoor Rugby League
clubrooms was burgled between June
6 and yesterday.
The thief had first attempted to take
the glass out of a door to gain entry,
“however they simply smashed the
window in the end and got in”.
A Freeview television remote control
was taken but little else was disturbed.
Meanwhile, a burglar entered an
unlocked Russell Terrace home in
Greymouth some time between
midnight and 9am yesterday.
A set of keys left sitting on a
bench were taken but little else was
“This is a reminder for everyone to
lock their doors — even if they ’re out
the back — make sure the front door
is locked,” Mr Tinnelly said.
On Sunday night a number of items
were stolen from a vehicle parked
in a layby at Stillwater commonly
used by locals as a car park. The thief
smashed their way into a locked car
at the junction of Arnold Valley Road
and State highway 7 at Stillwater, on
A side window was broken allowing
the thief to rifle through the vehicle
and steal a JVC stereo panel unit, a
wallet with bankcards, and cigarettes.
The car was parked and locked about
5pm on Sunday.
Reefton police say help from
quick-thinking locals helped nab
four burglars who smashed their
way into the Challenge ser vice
station early today.
Senior constable Fred Ackland
said the thieves smashed through
a plate glass window at the service
station, in Sinnamon Street, about
Mr Ackland said the blaring alarm
system stopped them in their tracks
and they fled empty-handed.
However, the same commotion
awoke nearby residents, who
managed to get detailed descriptions
of the fleeing burglars and phoned
“Thanks to them we were able to
get a description of them (burglars)
and their vehicle, which resulted in
them being stopped,” Mr Ackland
Police stopped and arrested the
four men, all in their early 20s
and from the Nelson region, at
Murchison about 90 minutes later.
Mr Ackland said the “excellent
work” by the members of the public
in getting out of bed to see what was
happening and dialling 111 proved
why people should immediately
report incidents to the police.
A ‘smash and grab’ was unusual for
Reefton and a first for the Challenge
“Cigarettes are the usual thing
they go for in service stations and
Although the burglars had been
caught the ser vice station would be
counting the cost by several thousand
dollars. The plate glass window was
likely to cost up to $3000 to fix, plus
the cost of stock ruined by shattered
glass, Mr Ackland said.
Noisy alarm thwarts Reefton smash and grab Final submissions on CBD revamp
Grey district residents have a month
to have a final say on plans to rejuvenate
central Greymouth, including proposals
for a town square, floodwall enhancement
and changing how Mawhera Quay is
The plans are open for public
submissions for 30 days, starting from
today. The Grey District Council said
this was the community’s final chance to
review the ideas and priorities suggested
by the hundreds of people who shared
their views at the ‘pop-up’ shop in
Mackay Street recently.
The top ranked project is a town square,
followed by Tainui ‘Shared Street ’,
Mawhera Q uay access and streetscape,
floodwall enhancement, town entry
gateways and a ‘Discovery Centre’.
The ‘draft urban design framework’ is
available on-line at www.greydc.govt.
nz/renewal, and at the council offices.
Submissions close at 4pm on Friday, July
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