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WEST COAST FEATURE
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SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015
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Step inside our new Greymouth Hospital
West Coast elderly have been
urged to take care after reports of
a phone scam which apparently
involves invoices for medication.
West Coast District Health Board
team leader planning and funding
Phil Wheble said yesterday it would
be concerning if older folk were
being targeted. "We urge people to
contact their usual general practice
or pharmacist if they receive any
suspicious phone calls asking them
for details of their medications," Mr
Wheble said. Greymouth police said
anyone who received a suspicious
phone call should get in touch
e number of patient transfers
from Grey Base Hospital increased
from 38 in April to 54 in May. e
vast majority of those transfers
were for orthopaedic patients,
the West Coast District Health
Board said yesterday. Most were
transferred to Christchurch by
ambulance and pressurised aircraft.
e main reasons were the service
was not available in Greymouth,
the severity of illness, or the need
for a special procedure which could
not be done in Greymouth. For
patients transferred from Westport
to Greymouth, the number rose
slightly from 16 patients in April
to 18 in May, most of them surgical
and medical patients.
Animal lovers have rejoiced at the
news that a landmark step has been
taken by the residents of a small
Spanish town to recognise cats
and dogs as 'non-human residents'.
It may only have a population
of 330 residents but the town of
Trigueros del Valle has taken the
extraordinary decision after the
town's people unanimously voted
in favour of the unusual act. e
town's socialist mayor, Pedro Perez
Espinosa, says the new status for
the town's animals is the right
move. Following the results, the
mayor stressed his responsibility
to represent and respect the wishes
of the town's people as well as its
feline and canine compadres.
--- Daily Mail
Heavy rain eases, thunder
e sole remaining
headstone from the historic
Maori Gully cemetery has
been restored and will be
reinstalled next week after
it was smashed by vandals
earlier this year.
e gravestone of James
McGa n is the last sign of
the 1800s goldrush town;
all the other grave memorials
were wooden and have rotted
Earlier this year contractors
discovered the McGa n
headstone in several pieces
when they went up to mow
the remote graveyard, near
mason Jamie Rhodes said
putting the stone back
together was a tricky job and
required about 30 holes to be
drilled for pins.
"It's probably as di cult as
it gets," Mr Rhodes said.
e stone dates back to
1872, and was made from
Oamaru sandstone, which
Mr Rhodes said was the
cheaper option at the time.
"You have to be very
careful, if you don't do it
right you can blow another
Blair Sullivan also worked on
the stone, which he said was
"A lot of it just turns to
dust because it is so brittle,"
Mr Sullivan said.
e lettering had to be
re-cut with hammer and
chisel, as it would have been
done originally. A liquid seal
will be added to slow the
e inscription reads
'Sacred to the memory of
James McGa n who was
accidentally killed at Maori
Gully Arnold, June 9th 1872.
y will be done.'
Mr McGa n died after a
fall of earth at a Maori Gully
gold claim on Sunday, June 9,
1872, aged just 35.
Mr Rhodes said the
stone had been deliberately
pushed over as it would have
required a lot of force, and
a fence around the grave
meant livestock could not
have done it.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Rhodes Monumental Masonry apprentice stonemason Blair Sullivan smooths a section of the sole
remaining headstone from the Maori Gully cemetery.
'Last' headstone repaired
Oceana Gold says it is still
looking at two underground
mines on the West Coast,
but also con rmed its
Reefton open-cast mine is
about to end.
About 120 people currently
work at the Globe Progress
mine, near Reefton.
"Be realistic please, the
operation is coming to an
end," manager Dale Oram
told the Minerals West
Coast forum at Shantytown
" e hole we planned to
dig has already been dug,"
Mr Oram said.
e pit would be nished
by about mid-October this
year and all processing would
stop about February.
For the next two years, the
mine would be put into 'care
and maintenance' while the
site was rehabilitated.
" ere are still resources
there," Mr Oram said. By
maintaining the plant and
facilities, if the opportunity
arose in the future, Oceana
could get up and going again
by spending a "few dollars".
Mr Oram signalled the
company's other projects may
still happen --- Globe Deeps,
an underground mine near
Reefton, and Blackwater,
deep beneath the old ghost
town of Waiuta.
He said "a good couple
of hundred metres of old
workings" dating from the
1900s still lay beneath the
Globe Progress open-cast.
e company did work on
the prospect as recently as
June. However, gold spot
prices were at a ve-year low.
He said the Blackwater
mine consisted of a single
quartz vein, and the proposed
underground was "still under
" e fact is, it won't happen
overnight but will happen ---
that's my thought."
If Oceana does go ahead
with the underground
prospects, new rules
post-Pike River mean it
must build two tunnels
--- an entrance and an exit ---
potentially doubling the cost.
Stephen Esposito, from
Solid Energy, said the
Strongman open-cast mine
near Greymouth was now in
'care and maintenance' and
it was looking to rationalise
Production at Stockton
had been reduced and some
gear had been moved to the
company's new North Island
Mr Esposito said the
Australians were "pumping
coal out" which did not help.
" ere's a lot of speculation
out there," over the future of
Solid Energy, he said, noting
that closure remained an
ere was no nal decision
and one would "come out in
Mike Coleman, from
Stevenson Mining, which
proposes a new open-cast
mine at Te Kuha, close to
Westport, said there were
four million tonnes of good
quality coal buried there.
"We are going to make a
few quid out of this mine,"
Mr Coleman said.
e mine consists of the
tail end of the Paparoa and
Brunner coal seams, meaning
the coal would be similar to
that at Pike and Roa.
He said Stevenson would
hopefully get the permits and
"get this going" in a couple of
It planned to extract
250,000 tonnes a year.
" e company is putting a
lot of money into this."
Glenys Perkins, speaking
on behalf of independent
coal producers, said
Indonesian coal was
now being quoted for a
boilerhouse in the South
" ere's a real threat now
to our South Island coal
producers," Mrs Perkins said.
Tourism West Coast has once
again bemoaned a lack of funds as
limiting its ability to promote the
Chairman Richard Benton,
reporting to the group's annual
general meeting at Franz Josef
Glacier this week, said 2014-15
had been a strong year of generally
improving trading conditions.
e group had taken steps
towards becoming a better funded,
stronger and more competitive
regional tourism organisation,
noting that tourism was still the
largest employer on the West
Coast, with visitors injecting
$309 million directly into the local
economy in the year to March
2014 --- $24 million more than the
"Our short-term funding model
continues to be extremely limiting
and has made the development
and implementation of medium
to long-term tourism economic
strategies extremely challenging,"
Mr Benton said.
He noted areas such as Hawke's
Bay and Hamilton had recently
signi cantly increased their
" e last 12 months have clearly
demonstrated that the West
Coast needs a diversi cation of
sustainable economic drivers in
order to drive consistent economic
He said Tourism West Coast
could help to in uence visitor
travel patterns, but was competing
with other regions.
"Tourism is a complex, multi-
dimensional, tough and highly
competitive industry, and visitors
to New Zealand have a myriad
of possible choices of neat places
to visit around the country. We
continue to compete for visitors'
End of year accounts show
Tourism West Coast had a balance
sheet with $195,646 in equity and
general funds of $152,182. e net
result for the end of the year was a
$19,316 improvement on the last
nancial year, with total income up
marginally by 1%.
Mr Benton said tourism looked
like it would be a "very strong"
economic growth contributor to
the West Coast "for some time to
"I have no doubt that I will be
able to say the same thing next
Tourism West Coast funding plea
Retrospective consultation on the Grey
District Council decision to use reserve
funds to pay for the Greymouth central
business district renewal has met with 92%
approval from submitters.
Councillors agreed to put the plans out for
30 days' consultation. at decision came
after councillors said the $1 million upgrade
should not proceed until the Westland
Recreation Centre was completed.
e subsequent consultation process drew
232 submissions, 96.5% of which supported
the renewal project.
Asked about the use of reserve funds, 92%
of respondents said they agreed with the
council drawing $1m from reserves to fund
the process, 4% were against it and 4% did
Of those who supported the use of reserves,
93% said the money should be made
available immediately, and only 2% said it
should wait for the 2016-17 nancial year.
Responding, Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said
the results showed the public's view was
overwhelmingly in favour of the renewal.
"Councillors will (have) the nal say, the
people have said what they want but it's still
a council decision," Mr Kokshoorn said.
Murray St fire
A mishap with an oven was the
reason behind a re brigade callout
to Murray Street in Greymouth last
night. e Greymouth Fire Brigade
was called to the scene at 7pm and
found the house lled with smoke.
Fire chief Lee Swinburn said the
re was out on arrival and they used
a ventilator fan to clear the house of
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