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WEST COAST FEATURE
East to west by stage coach
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SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
back in town
heading to Bill
Some of the Pike River families
are headed to Wellington next
week for the final reading of the
Health and Safety Reform Bill. The
reforms were the results of a major
overhaul of workplace safety rules in
the wake of the Pike River disaster.
National has now watered down
what was originally planned to
reduce the impact on small business,
farmers and volunteer groups. Pike
families spokesman Bernie Monk
said they wanted to have a presence
K9 fun park to
Greymouth’s canines will soon be
able to return to Preston Road, with
the new dog park just awaiting a
fence. Grey District Council assets
manager Mel Sutherland, said
the park was fully grassed and the
council was waiting on a perimeter
fence to go up. He expected that to
be completed by early September
at the latest, subject to contractor
availability. The dog exercise
equipment from the old park —
where the sewage treatment plant is
now located — will be reinstated
at the same time.
(Supplied by Nelson Weather Service)
As fibs go, it was a whopper:
when Sue Markham’s husband
Robert said he did not want a ‘big
dog’, she told him the puppy they
had adopted was a Jack Russell.
But the 600g ‘terrier’, christened
Yogi but known to all as Bear, just
kept growing and growing... into a
95kg Boston great dane. Now aged
nine, Yogi has its own paddock for
exercise, gets through $300 worth
of food a month — including four
scrambled eggs and sausages for
breakfast each day — and wears a
horse coat when it is cold outside.
Mrs Markham, 57, said: “ When I
saw Bear I fell in love with it and
knew I wanted him but I knew
Robert didn’t want a big dog. So
Jack Russell. ” — Daily Mail
The looming closure of Sicon
Ferguson and Downer, and
the lure of new contracts in
Christchurch, has already reduced
the number of companies bidding
for Grey District Council work,
driving up prices.
Sicon Ferguson and Downer
are both due to close their West
Coast operations at the end of
the month after losing the New
Zealand Transport Agency road
Meanwhile, the council has
recently had to re-tender two
projects after quotes came in
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said
companies were choosing to
concentrate on Christchurch,
which meant the council had to
re-tender projects because of the
lack of contractors.
“That puts a huge amount
of pressure on our tendering
system. If we don’t get enough
competition it forces the price
up,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
Canterbury had $30 to $40
billion of expenditure in the
earthquake recovery, giving their
economy a massive boost.
“ Whereas we not only got
nothing to boost our economy,
we also had the massive coalmine
lay-offs to contend with. ”
It was a “worrying trend”, but
the bright side was that it had not
come at a busy time. The council
had spent up to $100 million
over the past decade doing
“Much of this was done then
there was a lot of competition
with contractors ... If we were
starting that work now it would
put us in a terrible situation,” Mr
The council had only one tendere
for the Westland Recreation
Centre, which came back $1m
above budget. The stadium was
expected to be built for $10m, but
that increased to $11m.
The extra cost was due to
increased construction costs,
additional costs of removing
contaminated soil, and increasing
the seismic standard of the
Council assets manager Mel
Sutherland said competitive
tension was good, and losing
major contractors was a concern.
“The availability of large
companies that have a presence
in the district is quite important,”
Mr Sutherland said.
The loss of Sicon and Downer
would mostly affect long-term
maintenance contracts, and they
were also available in the case of
Sicon Ferguson was about
a third of the way through a
$1m project on the Taylor ville-
Blackball Road. Mr Sutherland
said the project would span two
financial years and Sicon was
lining up an alternative contractor
to finish the work.
The Westland Recreation
Centre prices were checked
against market prices and the
council was satisfied with the
The council recently had to re-
tender two projects because they
were above budget. Work on the
Iveagh Bay camper van park drew
two tenders during the first round.
Five tender documents had been
taken out for the second round.
The work would be reduced to
ensure it fitted within the budget.
Remedial work on the council
buildings had also been re-
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Greymouth artist Tom Starr fixes up his kaleidoscope inspired cushions ahead of the End of Winter art show at the Left Bank Art Gallery. Starr said his photo
manipulation work featured symmetrical images of leaves, bangles, stones and even a car tail light. Starr’s pieces complete a wide variety of artwork by Rory
McDougall, Fiona McDonald, Tony Brown and Safran House artists Stephen Tschopp and Colby Smith. McDonald said her oil paintings were inspired by
Coast Road life, and will sit alongside Brown’s ancient civilisation-inspired work and McDougall’s sculpture.
Kaleidoscope of colour
The West Coast is the setting for a new thriller
novel being launched today.
The Alo Release, by Christchurch journalist
Geoff Mein, is a ‘genetic modification thriller’
with critical scenes in, around and under Ross,
as well as in Hokitika and the Whitcombe
The novel opens in California, but most of
the plot is set in New Zealand; including the
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Several scenes take place in Ross — at a
house, church, shop, in mine shafts under the
town, and a roadblock at the intersection of
Harihari highway and Donoghues Road.
Other scenes take place at a beach near
Okarito, the Hokitika Police Station, Hokitika
River and the Whitcombe Valley.
Mein said a tramping trip in the Whitcombe
Valley was the inspiration for the novel.
“I remember standing in the bush above this
unbelievably wild river, and thinking this is as
good as it gets.
“Exquisite birdsong, jagged peaks of the Alps
beckoning like the spires of mystical cathedrals,
the smell of moisture in the beech forest like
“Nature in its raw, unpredictable state — at
an entirely different end of the spectrum from
the confines of a test tube or comfort of a
The Alo Release is a thriller about the
potential for public opinion to be manipulated
during a crisis.
“The Alo Release highlights how vulnerable
citizens and governments are to corporate
manipulation on a grand scale during an
Mein said the issue was timely, given
widespread concern in many countries
about the safety and labelling of genetically
modified food, and alarm over the level of
influence multinational corporations are
having on trade deals like the Trans Pacific
Mein, who has written the novel under the
pen-name Geoffrey Robert, is a former reporter
and features writer for The Press, and was editor
of several community newspapers in Canterbury
from July 2012 until March this year.
He is currently living in Timor-Leste, where
he is working on his next novel.
The Alo Release, a new thriller
set on the West Coast.
International thriller comes to Coast
An American tourist who crashed into
a vehicle after stopping to let a car pass
him was convicted of careless driving
and ordered to make an emotional harm
repayment of $500.
On August 7, Justin O wen Berl, 22,
was driving along State highway 6 at
Punakaiki when on the approach to a
backpackers, he pulled over to let a car
behind him pass. However, when he
pulled back on to the road, to make a
sharp right-hand turn, he crashed into
the following car.
The impact caused serious damage to
the front of both vehicles, and swung
both vehicles around. No one was hurt
in the crash.
Berl told police that he had got
confused about which stick next to the
steering wheel operated the indicator.
Lawyer Richard Bodle said that the
rental company had covered the damage
done to the victim’s vehicle, and Berl
had also made amends to the victim at
Although Berl thought he had had
right of way, he admitted his driving had
A Cobden man who
caused more than $400
worth of damage to a taxi
after a drunken row was
remanded for restorative
justice on charges of
intentional damage and
Tuhi Terangi Tamatane
Ahaki Yorke, 37,
admitted the charges in
the Greymouth District
Yorke was in Bright
Street, Cobden, on
August 7, having left a
drunken row where he
had tried to start a fight.
As a taxi went past he
kicked it, bending the
door panel and breaking
the wing mirror, causing
$435 worth of damage in
When police turned up
to arrest Yorke, he yelled
at them and abused them.
Lawyer George Linder
said Yorke was so drunk
he could not remember
any of the incident,
however he was “very
sorry” about what had
happened and was keen
to take part in restorative
Yorke was remanded on
bail to September 22.
‘Confused’ American driver causes crash
Man ‘very sorry’
for taxi attack
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